SIX years ago, Conor Devine’s world fell apart.
Twelve months after being struck down by a mystery illness whilst on honeymoon, the property expert from Cookstown was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Struggling to cope with the debilitating neurological condition, Conor, a proud dad and entrepreneur, was hit both physically and mentally.
Then one day he decided to fight back.
Now, six years on, the County Tyrone man is showing the world how he beat MS and has even written his own book, ‘Attitude is Everything’ on his battle.
Here, the MAIL chats to Conor about a typical day in his busy life, what challenges he faces and who inspires him the most.
Describe a typical day for you?
“I rise early, 5.30am for breakfast, gym at 7am in Belfast. I am normally at the desk at 8.15am in the City Centre, where “I start the day by catching up on all the business news and send a few emails.
“The remainder of the day comprises mostly meetings with clients, banks and other professionals. I usually leave the office at 5.45pm, and home for 6.15pm.”
What are the challenges of your job as a property expert?
“You need to have a good understanding of the economy, debt and the property market.
“You need to be a good listener and creative enough to come up with solutions. Trust is a key factor, and that is a characteristic you need in abundance for my type of work.”
What are the highlights of your role?
“Bringing solutions to an otherwise hopeless situation.
“When a client feels he has no options on the table. Normally after a meeting with our team, we can outline that there is a way forward, and this is very rewarding.”
How do you balance your family/personal life with work?
“We have a little girl and she runs the house!
“We make the most of the weekends and holiday periods to have some fun and relax together. We also have two Spanish water dogs, who take up some of my down time and are a handful.”
Do you have any hobbies? If so what are they?
“Yeah, in the last three years, I have taken up running, and this year I will be running my third marathon in New York in November. In June, I will be competing in my first adventure race, which is 67km of running, cycling and kayaking in Donegal.
“Exercise has been a major weapon in me keeping my Multiple Sclerosis in check!”
Who inspires you the most?
“Anyone who has come through a challenge and has a never give up attitude.
“I have a good friend who is paralysed from the waist down and he is in a lot of pain most days. He runs a multimillion pound company and refuses to give up. People like Trevor really push me on when my lights start to flicker.”
Tell us a bit about your book ‘Attitude os Everything’ which is now on sale?
“In my book, I share with people what happened to me on honeymoon in 2006, and how 12 months later I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
“I go into detail of the first three years where I really struggled with everything.
“Then since 2009, I started to fight back and implemented a
plan which has enabled me to take control of the MS and get my life back.
“The message I want to get out is that we all hit a wall at some point, maybe an illness, a bereavement, a financial problem – however, if you apply the right attitude to your circumstances, there is a real chance you will make progress again.
“The amazing thing about my story is that I only really started to improve when I found other people in the world with MS who were doing very well.
“I now know that others will get some hope by seeing my story. This is very gratifying for me, and is my motivation to continue to share my story.”
You can buy Conor’s book ‘Attitude is Everything book in Sheehys newsagents and also on the websites www.conordevine.com and www.amazon.co.uk