16 November 2023 News
A revolutionary e-book created to improve the voice banking process for people with motor neurone disease (MND) has been featured during an episode of ITV1’s Coronation Street.
I Will Always Be Me was developed by organisations involved in the MND Association’s NextGen Think Tank, which brings together global tech companies and people living with MND to design and develop new technologies.
Unfortunately most people living with MND will lose their natural speech eventually due to the disease. I Will Always Be Me is a quick and easy way to create a synthetic version of their natural voice that captures how they sound and their accent, helping maintain an important part of their sense of identity even when needing to communicate through a device.
On last night’s episode of Coronation Street (15 November 2023), character Paul Foreman was seen in an appointment with his speech and language therapist, and later reading I Will Always Be Me at home with husband Billy. Paul, played by actor Peter Ash, was diagnosed with MND in April 2023.
I Will Always Be Me is an e-book written from the perspective of someone with MND, talking about their experiences of living with the disease. The world-first technology, accessed by the I Will Always Be Me website, records the voice of the person living with MND reading the book aloud, and transforms the recording into a digital voice which can be used with communication devices if needed in the future. Since its launch in February 2022, more than 700 people have banked their voices using the e-book.
The MND Association has been supporting the team at Coronation Street with the portrayal of Paul’s MND. The soap attracts around six million viewers.
It is terrific to see I Will Always Be Me getting a moment in the Coronation Street spotlight after the hard work that went into its development. Over 80% of people living with MND will experience communication difficulties, so, like Paul is doing on screen, it is vital to explore voice banking as early as possible after diagnosis.
Sadly my grandfather & many other people living with MND didn’t have this incredible invention during his illness. However, I’m so happy people living with MND now have this opportunity. #IWillAlwaysBeMe https://t.co/ZCmOppRIXY— Daniel Brocklebank (@Dan_Brocklebank) November 15, 2023