MND: My Part in its Downfall by Roland Evans
Roland Evans: I was born in Oxford in 1951 and my parents had a farm. They sold up in 1952 and moved to Ireland where land was cheaper and I spent a few years in North County Dublin. Farming proved difficult and we moved between Dublin, Kildare and Meath before Meath became our family home as we built on the banks of the Boyne near Navan.
I was educated at Headfort preparatory School in Kells and Portora in Enniskillen. My parents ran a hotel in Navan and kept a herd of bullocks and the occasional racehorse.
My adult life was in Teaching, I taught at 2nd level in the UK and primary level back in Ireland after marriage to my wife Annette in 1978. My final school was a country school in Co, Wicklow. I have two children a stepson and a daughter.
I was diagnosed nearly 5 years ago with MND. At the time I was working, walking slowly but otherwise I was living a full life. Since then I have lost my mobility, my hands and arms have weakened and I cannot lie flat or sleep without a bi-pap breathing machine. I am dependent on my carers who get me in and out of bed, get me to the toilet and wash and dress me. I am fortunate to have my voice and the ability to swallow.
I live a full life thanks to the IMNDA. Not only have they provided equipment promptly and ahead of time but they give expert timely advice and huge emotional and financial support. So that others may have the same support and so that vital research can continue, I am giving the full proceeds of the sale of my book ‘The Marshlander Chronicles’ to the IMNDA.
I grew up on the banks of the Boyne and in winter it over spilled its banks. It was rich in wildlife and after the waters retreated in spring the rushes and reeds were rich for childhood exploration. In 1969 the river was dredged and deepened and all this disappeared. The memory lingered and I began to imagine the marshes many thousands of times bigger and the book set on another planet was born.
The Marshlander Chronicles
‘Water is our life. Without water we are slaves.’ The words of Solomon Drake rang in the ears of 14 year old Prins, citizen of Marshland, a wetland rich in animal and plant life. Prins is despised by his peers because of his physical weakness. The story opens with the arrival of CORE (the council for renewal and enlightenment) who want to persuade Marshlanders to sell their wooden houses on stilts so the marsh can be drained in return for gold. One of his tormentors, a representative of CORE, drops paper from his pocket. Prins has a secret. He can read, one of the few in his world who can.
The Marshlander Chronicles is available from the IMNDA Shop for €15
Roland also took part in a student documentary shortly after his book was published. The documentary was called MND: My Part in its Downfall