His life has been dedicated to sport and after retiring from Competitions, he began working as a fitness consultant and personal coach. But after 12 years his natural curiosity led him to a new business project in real estate, and the sale of villas and apartments. “I love to help people to find or realise their dream home. It is incredibly fulfilling work.” Shortly after starting his new business he was increasing troubled by backache. “At first I thought nothing of it. I had been moving all my life either as a sportsman or trainer. My new occupation meant less sport and more siting at a computer. I thought the back pain was just normal because I’d changed my life style. I thought it would go away with time.”
However, his hopes were disappointed. The pain didn’t go away, instead it became more and more intense. Finally, after painstaking diagnosis and many visits to back specialists, it was clear that he is suffering from severe arthritis in his lower back, due to three lumbar vertebrae that were completely worn away.
Dano’s mother also suffers from severe arthritis and has had two knee replacements. A hereditary disposition triggered by his life as a professional sportsman: years of training like a madman (four or five hours every day), and thirty odd competitions a year. «The doctor said that my back was in good condition, except for the exact section, which matches the place where all the body tension was focused when I was in position at the start of a race. My explosivity at the start was my great strength – I had the best start in the world – and I had worked at it very hard.”
Dano is a very positive thinker and does not lose hope that he will find a way to relieve his pain. He experiments with different diets and alternative treatments, most recently a bath of liquid nitrogen at –180 °C. However, the chronic and intense pain makes it hard to keep up his spirits. “I’ve realised that this pain makes me physically more fragile, and sometimes mentally as well. It makes me question things that I took for granted: my health, my well-being and confidence in myself, the wish to move, the love of travel …. It’s all the more undermining because until now I could always count on my body. I have the impression that it’s leaving me now, that it’s betraying me. I also feel a bit guilty towards my wife, Lena, and our 18-year-old son, Suny, because I am sometimes less enthusiastic, less positive, less forthcoming than I would like to be. My wife is young, she is full of vim and vigour, she wants to do things, but when for example she says to me, “We could go out tonight” I tend to say no because I am in more pain at the end of the day. »
Dano Halsall supports the Institute of Rheumatology Research, because he believes that more research is required to find better care for arthritis sufferers. “Research will find new treatments to help arthritis sufferers. Nobody should suffer the pain of arthritis.”