Journalist and author JERRY LYONS has written a book with his friend Del Deanus about the latter's inspirational battle to live the best life he can in the face of terminal illness. He writes about it here
DEL was an outstanding youth footballer who represented England Schoolboys, playing alongside Ryan Giggs and Nicky Barmby.
He spent four years as a youth and apprentice player at Tottenham Hotspur during the era of Paul Gascoigne, Gary Lineker and Terry Venables.
The book contains some fantastic inside stories about life at the club during this exciting time. Injury cut
short Del's playing career but he went on to have very successful spells in coaching and management with Southall, Northwood, Edgware Town and is currently co-manager of Welwyn Garden City FC.
On February 25 last year my close friend Del Deanus was diagnosed with the terminal illness motor neurone disease aged just 34 years-old.
Since that devastating day, Del has dealt with the cruel hand fate has given him with dignity, humour and courage.
Exactly a year after the diagnosis Del and I got together and began writing a book about his life, his football career and his experiences with MND.
We will also be exploring the possibility of a link between the disease and people who play sport at a high standard.
Since his diagnosis Del has married his long-term girlfriend, Emma.
He has travelled across America and is still working, 14 months after his illness was confirmed. We began writing this book a year after Del's diagnosis.
The life expectancy of people with the disease is between two and five years, with half of sufferers dying within 18 months.
Far from being a book about a young man dying, our aim is to make it the story of someone whose fighting spirit will inspire others to make the most of life.
A blog, found at http://www.mnd association.org, has been set up to raise awareness of the devastating terminal illness motor neurone disease (MND).
Del wants his story to raise awareness of the disease and to raise funds for the MND Association.
Being told you have a terminal illness is shattering, but it does not need to be the end of your life. I have done more in the year after my diagnosis than in my 34 years prior to it.
It's clichéd but you really do have to make the most of now. My first month after diagnosis was a daily fight to keep up the will to carry on. There were times when I wanted to drown my sorrows with alcohol and just get so drunk I'd forget everything.
I didn't though, as this would have left me feeling even worse the next day and could have been the start of a downward spiral that would speed up my death.
I knew how important it was to stick to a good routine rather than a bad one. It sounds obvious but I had to constantly remind myself.
Coming to terms with a terminal diagnosis, whether it is MND, cancer or any other life sentence is incredibly hard. There's no getting away from the initial pain, tears, fear and depression.
Up to three times a day I'd feel absolutely terrible but you have to keep fighting, hanging in there like a boxer caught on the ropes.
At times I'd be angry. What had I done to deserve this? Then I would feel sad and depressed. There were lots of tears. Being around people helped, but it was when I was on my own that the darkness really fell and engulfed me.
Certain things got me through those dark, desperate spells. The first was probably acceptance. It does take time for the enormity of what you have been told to sink in, but you have to accept it.
There's no point being in denial. Eventually, to coin a phrase from one of my doctors, I decided to make the most of the bad hand fate had dealt me.
Secondly, don't be afraid to grieve, to cry, to scream. There's no point going around pretending to be strong. You have just received the worse news possible, so don't hold it in.
I originally thought that I couldn't show I'm upset and kept up a strong appearance to others, but looking back I didn't have to or need to.
If you are feeling something, let it out, don't just bottle it up.
It's really important to take the positives out of your situation. There really is always someone worse off out there. I think of Jade Goody. The poor girl was dead within a few months of her diagnosis, leaving behind her two little boys. I really felt for her and her family.
My situation has at least given me more time with my loved ones. Having been given a life expectancy of two to five years, it's important that I and others in similar circumstances make the most of those years. They could be the best ever.
* Del and Jerry are very keen to hear from potential publishers of the book. All profits from the sale and sponsorship of the book will go to the MND Association.