Tony grits his teeth to raise cash for charity

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A MAN who suffers with a rare disease that causes bones to fuse together has gone through the pain barrier for charity.

Tony Rode, 64, of The Lammas, Mundford, was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis when he was 21.

The disease causes the joints to dry out, leaving bone to rub together before it eventually fuses.

As a result, Mr Rode’s spine is now fused together in several places and his rib cage is totally rigid.

But Mr Rode put personal discomfort to one side earlier this month to walk five kilometres through London’s Richmond Park for the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society.

“To most people five kilometres walk is a Sunday stroll – when you have got this disease it can be extremely painful, even when you breathe.

“For most people when they breathe, their ribs move, but mine don’t.

“I wouldn’t want to have gone much further,” he said.

Mr Rode managed to collect £300 from the walk, with a large contribution from Forest Heath councillor John McGhee swelling the coffers.

He was joined on the walk by pet dog, Jazz, and the pair completed the walk in just over an hour.

Ankylosing spondilitis is usually detected during teenage years and sufferers can end up with a crooked posture or totally immobile.

Mr Rode said: “I’m one of the lucky ones really. Some people are doubled over and can’t bend or move much at all.

“Your back can go from having hundreds of bones in it, to having one, more or less.”