Martin Pistorius was an average young boy who grew up healthy until he turned 12. Shortly after his 12th birthday a debilitating illness began to overtake his body. Doctors were baffled and had no idea why he was slowly shutting down. Before too long he was paralyzed physically and mentally.

Twelve long years passed with little to no improvements and all of a sudden things started to get better. Out of nowhere small signs of progress were appearing and when Martin finally woke up, he revealed the shocking truth.

Early life

Growing up in South Africa with his parents the Pistorius family was very typical. Martin had a pretty normal upbringing, like many boys his age he lived cartoons and lived an active lifestyle.

He would play with friends but his real passion came from electronics and their inner workings. It was the early 1980s and everything seemed very normal, until the day Martin got sick, then it all changed. 

Simple beginnings to a terrible illness. What started out as a simple sore throat turned into something much more sinister. 

His parents took him to doctor’s appointment after doctor’s appointment and the symptoms continued to get worse. Martin’s parents were growing more worried and his illness would get much more severe. 

Martin was eventually diagnosed with a very rare form of cryptococcal meningitis and tuberculosis of the brain. These diseases slowly took away Martin’s motor functions and sadly, it would get worse…

The doctor’s prognosis was that Martin’s illness was incurable and his symptoms would progressively get worse. Eventually Martin lost the ability to control his body and he lost all motor functions…

To make things worse, for some odd reason, Martin lost the ability to make eye contact and eventually lost his speech. The illness wrecked little Martin’s body and mind to the point he was basically in a coma, but was that the end? He was trapped and it would get worse.

Rodney and Joan Pistorius wouldn’t believe that their son’s illness was incurable and irreversible. They couldn’t accept that their little boy who just months earlier was healthy, would forever be a vegetable.  They couldn’t believe their son was trapped in a coma.

All the doctors and specialists continued to tell the Pistorius’ that their son would never recover his motor skills and his brain would never get better. They were instructed to take Martin home and wait for him to die… but something incredible happened… he didn’t die.

Parents can’t just sit idly by as their son waits to die, so the Pistorius’ did everything they could to make their son’s live better. They hired nurses to care for him during the day and at night, Rodney would sit by his son, turning him every two hours, so he wouldn’t get bedsores.

Eventually, the family was forced to use a care facility to help with Martin. Everyday, Rodney would wake up at 5am to get his son ready, loaded in the car and drove him to the facility. After eight hours, he would pick up his son, feed him, bathe him and put him to bed and this continued for years.

Martin’s mother struggled with the mounting pressures of raising a boy with these special needs. She recalls a moment when she walked up to Martin and screamed out loud, “I Wish You Would Die!” She was told Martin couldn’t hear her; this was more of a plea to God to help her out and end her son’s suffering.

Then all of a sudden around the age of 16, Martin began to wake up. He started gaining consciousness slowly at first, he couldn’t sense people around him and wasn’t sure what was happening to him. He did however hear what his mom yelled at him in her moment of weakness. His mind would slowly regain its functions but he still couldn’t move or speak.

Martin was essentially trapped in his own body; he had full consciousness but couldn’t move his body at all. His mind and body were disconnected.  Being trapped is the worst possible feeling.

He couldn’t wiggle a toe, look at things or express himself in anyway. He was mentally a child in a man’s body and he had no idea what had happened. Everyone in Martin’s life had become accustomed to him just being there so they began to ignore him, this is when he realized that he may be trapped in his body forever.

He couldn’t signal to his family that he was in there and not a complete vegetable.   He realized that there was no escape from his literal hell he was living in. He couldn’t signal to his family, he would never live a normal life and he was trapped.

Martin ventured deep into his own mind, trying to find an escape from his mental prison. Nobody knew that he was actually not a vegetable, so he got treated like someone who was dead inside.

The care facility would just sit him in front of a TV and he was forced to watch reruns of Barney & Friends on continuous loops. That’s just the beginning of his torture…

The care facility was torturing poor Martin and there was nothing he could do about it. They would pull his hair, feed him boiling hot tea or soup, slap him around and yell at him constantly. They thought he was a vegetable and these people treated him terribly. 

One woman even sexually assaulted Martin on several occasions, straddling him and touching his privates. Martin lived like this for years, but somehow he stayed strong, hoping one day he would be able to stand up for himself.

Martin tried to ignore the harassment because he was still struggling with what his mother said to him. How could she wish death upon him, how was she feeling, and why?

Martin relied on his brain to fix his body. He knew that the only way to heal his depression was to fix his body. Slowly his mind became stronger and eventually all these neurons were firing and his body started to improve. There were signs of movement…

Martin began to make small movements, especially when prompted with certain things. No one noticed because he was a vegetable for so long, people just stopped looking. His aromatherapist noticed the movement first.

This was the breakthrough that Martin needed. His parents were alerted of his movements and doctors immediately began running tests. Eventually he regained all his brain functions again and by the age of 25 he had much of his mobility back.

He was stuck in a wheelchair but he was alive and conscious, the world was shocked. He forgave his mother for the harsh things she said, but he understood where she was at mentally. In 2007, Martin met his true love, Joanne, a social worker. In 2009, he asked her to marry him.

Martin and Joanne are currently married and live in Harlow. He still is in a wheelchair and he must talk using a voice synthesizer, but he is mostly healed up. 

He had to relearn everything; his alphabet, mathematics and he eventually earned a college degree.

Martin tours the world giving motivational speeches and now he wants to learn to drive a car. He passed his written test already and is taking lessons now. After all he has been through, a simple driver’s test should be nothing. He has proven to be stronger than most of us.