TV star Johanna Griggs seems to have it all, but when she wanted to lose weight she turned to a relatively unknown mum to inspire her.
Meet the reason Johanna Griggs lost 11 very stubborn kilograms. “This is Wonder Woman!” smiles the TV favourite as she greets Janelle Wilson with a warm hug and introduces her.
The pair met last year when Janelle, 50, spoke at a business lunch about her 30kg weight loss – a dramatic drop achieved while balancing a career, family, the care of her disabled son and pursuing a passion for triathlons. Her speech captivated Joh, 37.
“I had thought I was too busy to shape up – but when I met Janelle and heard what she deals with on a daily basis, I decided I’d find the time and stop making excuses,” says the 183cm host of Better Homes And Gardens. She got a home treadmill and started walking after being inspired by Janelle, and now weighs 77kg.
“She’s a genuine person who speaks from the heart. There’s never any bitterness about what life has dished up. She’s just positive and up-beat and gets on with things. In her own gentle way, she’s made a powerful difference to my life and I can’t thank her enough.” Janelle, from Newcastle in NSW, has shed another 8kg since her first meeting with Joh. She says her transformation from size 22 to 12 was “something to do for myself” in the midst of a frantic life.
Key to Janelle’s hectic schedule is her son Jye, 10. Born prematurely weighing just 1800 grams, he fought for his life in hospital for 146 days after his birth. Now, Jye has cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, global developmental delay, ocular palsy and almost total deafness. “He’s often wheelchair-bound and weighs just 26kg, but Jye is a very strong child we know was put on this earth for a purpose,” explains Janelle, who also has a son named Darian, 14, with her husband Steven. “Jye is non-verbal but communicates in his own way and our family happily revolves around him.”
Cerebral palsy is a physical disability that affects the way that a person moves.
Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the developing brain, which usually occurs before birth.
It is a lifelong condition, but its impact varies from person to person. It can be very mild – e.g. a weakness in one hand – or more severe, where a person has almost no voluntary movement.
There is no known cure and, for most people with cerebral palsy, the cause is unknown.
25% of children with cerebral palsy are unable to walk and 60% have impaired speech. There are also a number of other conditions associated with cerebral palsy, including epilepsy and intellectual disability.
To find out more about cerebral palsy, including the latest medical research, services available and how you can help support the charity, go to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance website.