Paul Foreman to be diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
PAUL FOREMAN TO BE DIAGNOSED WITH MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE
Coronation Street is to explore the subject of living with Motor Neurone Disease when Paul Foreman is diagnosed with the life shortening illness next month.
Viewers have recently seen Paul (Peter Ash) struggle to recover from injuries he sustained when he was involved in a road accident. He was advised that he had muscle and nerve damage and was signed off work.
As time goes on and Paul starts to notice other issues with balance, mobility and dexterity he is referred to a specialist tonight (Fri March 24th) and in early April he is given the devastating news that it is very likely he has MND. This diagnosis will be confirmed later in the month.
Paul keeps the diagnosis from his partner Billy (Daniel Brocklebank) and family, confiding only in his flatmate Dee Dee Bailey. This storyline will follow the progression of the disease as Paul initially deals with the illness alone and eventually has to break the news to his loved ones.
Coronation Street is working closely with the MND Association on this storyline which will explore the challenges faced by Paul and those around him in the coming months.
Peter Ash said: “Paul is completely blindsided by the diagnosis and he decides to keep it from his family and friends as he tries to come to terms with the news. I knew very little about MND before embarking on the storyline and I am hugely grateful to the MND Association for all their help and support. For any actor playing a role which examines a real life issue or condition there comes a huge sense of responsibility and we are aware that some people watching this storyline are experiencing it in reality, it is their life.
“Awareness and education are really important. I have learned so much even in the short time I have been involved in this storyline. We hope Paul’s journey can make people more aware of the symptoms and what it is like for someone to live with MND.”
Producer Iain Macleod said: “Motor Neurone Disease is something that many people might have heard of but perhaps don’t know a lot about, even given the recent cases of public figures talking about their experiences of living with the condition. A show like Coronation Street is uniquely placed to show the day-to-day reality of dealing with an illness that gradually and progressively erodes the physical attributes that you perhaps take for granted, changing forever the way you interact with the world around you.
“At first, Paul - who as a builder, relies entirely on his physicality for his livelihood - will massively go off the rails in a misplaced bid to ensure he isn’t a burden on his loved ones. But in the end, they will be the ones to put him back together emotionally. We are committed to portraying in a long-term, sensitive way the effects of this condition on Paul and his family and friends, not shying away from the sometimes painful reality of what his life will be like. We have been privileged to work with the Motor Neurone Disease Association - including talking to people who have the condition and their families - to ensure we do justice to people’s real-life experiences.”
MND Association Director of External Affairs Chris James said: “We are really grateful to the team at Coronation Street for choosing to tackle this difficult subject. Putting MND in front of millions of viewers every week will raise incredible awareness and help educate people who have never come across this disease – showing the day to day reality for those living with it and the impact on their families, friends and neighbours too.
“The Coronation Street team has been incredibly responsible when considering storylines, scenarios and scripts, spending a lot of time talking to us and members of the MND community to ensure the onscreen portrayal of MND is realistic, sympathetic and sensitive.”
Fact and stats
About motor neurone disease (MND):
MND is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.
It attacks the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work. MND does not usually affect the senses such as sight, sound and feeling etc.
It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe.
Over 80% of people with MND will have communication difficulties, for most this means a complete loss of voice.
It affects people from all communities.
Around 35% of people with MND experience mild cognitive change, in other words, changes in thinking and behaviour. A further 15% of people show signs of frontotemporal dementia which results in more pronounced behavioural change.
It kills a third of people within a year and more than half within two years of diagnosis.
A person’s lifetime risk of developing MND is around 1 in 300.
Six people per day are diagnosed with MND in the UK.
It affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time.
It kills six people per day in the UK, just under 2,200 per year.
It has no cure.
For more information please visit https://www.mndassociation.org/
The MND Connect helpline offers information and support on all aspects of MND and can signpost to other organisations when required.
MND Connect is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, and 7pm to 10.30pm. Calls are free.
Tel: 0808 802 6262
Keep up to date with Pauls story on ITVX