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Singer was told MND diagnosis was end of career - now he's No1 with fundraising song


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Roy Taylor

Roy Taylor

Roy Taylor

As part of the band Jump the Gun which represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1988, Roy Taylor is no stranger to the limelight.

But in 2018, the musician was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) and told his singing career was over.

However, he was determined to continue using his talents and last week, he, along with his son Terence, reached No1 in the iTunes charts in Ireland with the release of My New Dream, a song aimed at raising awareness for MND and funds to aid research into the condition.

"I've been a singer for over 40 years but two and a half years ago I was given the news that I have motor neurone disease and might never sing again," said Roy.

"I had absolutely no idea and had no expectations of anything like this, so it was complete and utter shock to me.

"My initial reaction was complete numbness - and my body shut down as I tried to comprehend the news I had just heard.

"Anything the specialist said from there was inaudible as I tried to buffer the shock to my system."

But despite the shocking news, since his diagnosis Roy has been an avid campaigner and fundraiser for both the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) and Research Motor Neurone.

And last September he and Terence (he also has three other children, Adam, Aaron and Ella) launched their own campaign, Watch Your Back MND.

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Releasing a song of the same title, together with a music video, they quickly began raising awareness surrounding the neurological disease.

"Last year we launched with a big band song about defeating MND, featuring some of the best musicians in Ireland," said Roy.

Emotional

"Roll on over a year later, we now have a No1, chart-topping song and a highly acclaimed music video with close to 100,000 views in one week."

The father-and-son duo are determined to get across their message of hope.

"Our song could relate to any debilitating illness, be it physical or mental, and that of course includes Covid-19," said Roy.

"The title My New Dream came from Terence and the initials MND.

"It's a song of hope and belief in being able to do things we may take for granted such as walking, talking and breathing.

"It is so true to life and making it with Terence was very emotional - as was the fact that I was told I may never sing again."

Although it is a relatively rare condition, about one in 300 people in Ireland are diagnosed with motor neurone disease every year.

And all proceeds from the song, My New Dream, will go to Watch Your Back MND which supports Research Motor Neurone, a world- leading MND research group based in Trinity College Dublin. The team is led by Professor Orla Hardiman, who has championed their campaign.

"We now stand on the shoulders of giants like Roy and Terence," she said.

The song is available to download and the Taylors hope it will both inspire others and raise much-needed funds.

"MND is not untreatable, it's simply underfunded," said Roy.

"Without funding, exciting upcoming clinical trials cannot come to life.

"So perhaps some day MND will no longer stand for motor neurone disease, it will stand for My New Dream."


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