Inspirational Paralympion, Will Bayley shares his triumphs, challenges and incredible story as he becomes the latest PainPod ambassador
Inspirational Paralympian, Will Bayley shares his triumphs, challenges and incredible story as he becomes the latest PainPod ambassador
Despite spending most of his childhood in Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), Will Bayley is the first British Paralympic table tennis Champion to have held the triple gold crown synchronously for the European, World and Paralympic Championships. Ranked world number 1, Will’s passion for the game undoubtedly shows in his memorable performances, as well in his charismatic celebrations that caused controversy. His dedication to sports extends to ambassadorial roles for the Commonwealth Games, Kent Sports Trust Foundation, Disability Sports Coaching and Pepenbury. Will is a driven Ability Advocate, Motivational Speaker and is actively involved with charities close to his heart. His outstanding accomplishments were recognised, when he was awarded a highly respected MBE in 2017.
What is a PainPod Brand Ambassador?
A PainPod Ambassador is a well know personality that uses the PainPod personally in their day to day life. Having experienced considerable benefits for themselves, an Ambassador wishes to endorse the internationally acclaimed PainPod so that others might find benefit using the device. Recently Will Baylay MBE joined the Results in Wellness team as a PainPod Brand Ambassador.
Will has brought many thrilling moments to the world of table tennis. However, there is much more to energetic and positive spirited Will, (who has publicly been very honest about his highs and lows), than just a phenomenal Paralympic table tennis Champion. You might even recognise him from television appearances on A Question of Sport and Celebrity First Dates.
Will was born on 17th January 1988 with the rare congenital condition Arthrogryposis. Arthrogryposis is a term used to describe over 300 conditions that cause multiple curved joints in areas at the body at birth. The condition affected all four of Will’s limbs, which meant his feet had to be splinted from birth and he had to endure 12 agonising reconstruction operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). Will was finally able to walk, with the aid of orthopaedic boots and a frame, aged three.
Tragedy struck and Will had to return to GOSH when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 7. He had to undergo 2 years of Chemotherapy in order to treat the cancer of the lymphatic system successfully. Speaking to Will, he stresses that this period in his life has not been a negative experience at all. Delving a little bit deeper into why that was the case, Will immediately praises his mother for staying positive, calm and supportive. During his time at GOSH, his grandmother introduced Will to table tennis. She bought him his first table tennis set, hoping it would distract her grandson going through chemotherapy and aid his recovery. Will quickly found out he was a natural table tennis player and his love for the game was born at GOSH whilst beating cancer.
At 29, he is still a regular visitor at GOSH showing his support to children on the wards by encouraging them to participate in tennis table. His positive attiute in overcoming challenges combined with his infectious character make him the perfect role-model for inspiring children who need to never give up. He also brings his inspirational message to the wider community by regularly visiting schools and supporting disability charities.
There is no sign of Will slowing down any time soon as we found out chatting to him between his training sessions.
Will, what is your passion and what drives you?
I am 100% driven to keep on winning more medals! (interrupting Will to ask how many he has won so far he cheerfully answered: ‘A lot! But there is room for more!’). I am also motivated to spend as much time as my hectic training schedule and other work commitments allow at GOSH. I am all about positive mental attitude and determined to encourage and inspire others. At the moment I train daily from 9am till noon and then from 3-6pm, as I am preparing for the Japan Para Open in Tokyo in 3 weeks time.
What is your proudest achievement?
Most definitely winning the Rio Paralympics back in 2016. It was a very difficult game and my emotions got the better off me remembering losing at London 2012. I was very up and down during this match. When I realised I’d won, I celebrated by spontaneously jumping on top on the tennis table. It was a total spur in the moment thing.I reacted out of pure emotion and happiness. Unfortunately one of the officials was less impressed by my actions and yellow carded me!
What's next for you?
In three weeks I am off to the Japan Para Open. Then, I am heading to the European Cup in Sweden in September. After that, we will see what’s next in store.
Do you have a favourite motivational quote you would like to share?
I do love my motivational quotes and listen a lot to inspirational American Football player “Vince Lombardi”. One of my ultimate favourite quotes that I live by is: “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle”.
Describe the moment you received the prestigious MBE?
It was an amazing experience. I was very nervous and the whole day was very surreal, like an out of body experience. My family was also invited to Buckingham Palace. When I met Prince William I found he was very easy to talk to. He told me his wife plays table tennis and joked about getting together for a game.
What was it like to meet the late Stephen Hawking in person?
I met Stephen at the Pride of Britain awards back in 2013. The Paralympic team were invited for the second time in a row as the ‘best Paralympic sport team’. When I bumped into Stephen he asked me if he could see my gold medal. I feel very honoured to have had the chance to meet this incredible and inspirational person.
Tell us a bit more about the charity work you do?
I spend as much time as possible at the Great Ormond Street Hospital. I also visit schools and help out as much as I can at disability events. It’s sometimes hard to fit it all in around my training. However, it gives me great pleasure inspiring others and raising awareness for my own condition - Arthrogryposis.
How does Arthrogryposis affect your day to day life and training?
It’s like having severe arthritis and both my hands wont fully open up. Both my feet were rebuilt as they were back to front and standing up is therefore painful.
Arthrogryposis also affects other muscles in my body. As a consequence, I have to train twice as hard in the gym to maintain normal muscle tone. My mother, who has the same condition affecting her feet, is my role model. Her positive outlook on life and the way she deals with the rare genetic condition have been an inspiration.
How have you experienced the PainPod so far?
Really, really good! I am still getting used to making sure I fit it in with my daily training schedule as I use it to recover after training sessions. I believe the device have helped increase movement in my hands.
Results in Wellness are delighted to have Will onboard as a PainPod Brand Ambassador and would like to wish him good luck with his upcoming challenges in Japan and Sweden. If you would like to follow and be inspired by Will’s journey you can find him at: