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Paul to be diagnosed with motor neurone disease in Corrie

Paul will be diagnosed with the life-shortening illness next month and will keep the diagnosis from his partner Billy and family.

Recently, Coronation Street fans will have seen Paul Foreman, played by 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 from work.

The soap will explore the subject of living with motor neurone disease next month when Paul Foreman is diagnosed with the life-shortening illness next month.

As time goes on, Paul starts to notice other issues with balance, mobility and dexterity and is referred to a specialist before being given the devastating news in early April that it is very likely he has MND. This diagnosis will be confirmed later in the month.

Keeping the diagnosis from his partner Billy and family, Paul will only confide in his flatmate Dee Dee Bailey.

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, following the progression of the disease as Paul initially deals with the illness alone and eventually has to break the news to his loved ones.

Speaking about the upcoming storyline, 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."

To which producer Iain Macleod added "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 is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord which 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. but 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 and affects people from all communities.

Around 35% of people with MND experience mild cognitive change, in other words, changes in thinking and behaviour and 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 and a person’s lifetime risk of developing MND is around 1 in 300. Every day in the UK, 6 people are diagnosed with MND, affecting up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time.

In the UK, it kills 6 people per day which is just under 2,200 per year and has no cure.

Director of External Affairs for MND Association, 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."

Coronation Street continues Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV1


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