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Moray candidate reveals he is battling rare illness

Nick Taylor
Nick Taylor

Fighting an election campaign can be tough test at the best of times.

But for a hopeful in a recent Moray vote, the challenge was made all the greater, following his diagnosis with a rare and debilitating medical condition.

Nick Taylor, who contested last week’s Elgin City North by-election for Labour, did so while battling Myasthenia gravis.

The 58-year-old admits to never having heard of the illness, which causes muscles to become weak and fatigued, until he was diagnosed with it.

And the Elgin resident is now eager to use his heightened public profile to raise awareness of the little-known affliction.

Mr Taylor said: “It is an auto-immune condition, which attacks the nervous system and means your muscles don’t work properly.

“Until I was diagnosed with it, six months ago, I had never heard of it, but 9,500 people across the UK live with it.

“It just isn’t something I had factored into my life, I certainly intended to keep working for a few more years and now I’m having to pack that in.

“But if I had been diagnosed with this 25 years ago, the chances are I would not have survived very long, so I count myself lucky in a sense.”

Mr Taylor added that, earlier this year, he began having difficulty breathing, and noticed his muscles were “beginning to give out”.

He explained: “When I started campaigning for the council elections in May, where I was unsuccessful ultimately, I found it knackering.

“The illness is like chronic fatigue disorder in a way, combined with muscular dystrophy.

“It causes my eyelids to droop, so it can look like I’m half-asleep when really I am fully awake.”

The father-of-two has been forced to give up his 22-year career as a lecturer in politics at Moray College at the end of this month.

He is now on a programme of steroids which he envisages having to take for the rest of his life.

But he says he is beginning to feel a positive effect from them already, and is looking forward to filling his spare time with a range of community-based activities, such as helping out at Moray Food Bank.

Mr Taylor finished third in Friday’s by-election, with 365 first preference votes.

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