A RENFREW dad has told how his world was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening genetic disorder.

Michael Conway suffers from Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) – an incurable neurological condition which causes chronic and progressive symptoms such as reduced mobility, unsteadiness and memory problems.

The 50-year-old, who works for BAE Systems in Glasgow, has decided to speak out to raise awareness about the degenerative illness, in the hope that a cure will one day be found.

Michael finds it hard to walk without falling and is extremely forgetful, which makes him nervous about going anywhere.

He first became unwell in 2010 and, five years later, his doctor told him he had multiple sclerosis.

Michael said: “I can understand why [that diagnosis was made], as a lot of the symptoms look similar. But neither of us were completely convinced, so he continued performing tests until May 2016 and that’s when he finally diagnosed me with Adrenoleukodystrophy.

“I was relieved to finally have an answer but also upset when I found out that there was no cure or medication yet.”

ALD is a condition where the fatty covering of nerve fibres is progressively damaged and, without it, the nerves do not work as they should.

Michael said: “I’m still able to live a fairly normal life but I’m extremely forgetful and have to keep checking that I’ve got money with me and things like that. I am always tired as well. The only time I feel truly free of ALD is when I am sleeping.”

Michael’s family have also been affected by neurological conditions.

His dad Alexander died in 2002 after battling motor neurone disease and a late uncle had Addison’s disease – a rare disorder of the adrenal glands.

As ALD is X-linked, it cannot be passed on from father to son but Michael’s daughter Rachel is a likely carrier of the ALD gene.

He said: “Rachael is 26 and children aren’t at the forefront of her mind right now, so seeing a genetic specialist isn’t a big priority for her.

“She knows it’s important but she just hasn’t gone yet.”

Michael’s wife Carol Ann, who has had to deal with her own trauma after being diagnosed with breast cancer last year, has nominated him for a My Metabolic Hero award in a campaign run by Climb – a charity which supports those affected by inherited metabolic disorders.

She is hoping local people will rally round to vote for Michael, who has thanked Iain Stevenson, of BAE Systems Naval Ships, and the ALD Life, Raremark and Climb charities for their support.

To vote for Michael, go to www.climb.org.uk/hero-nominations-a-c/ before Saturday’s deadline.