Kara Jane Spencer: Severely ill singer seeks help finishing album

By Gavin Bevis
BBC News, Derby

  • Published
Kara Jane SpencerImage source, Kara Jane Spencer
Image caption,
Kara Jane Spencer has been recording her vocals one line at a time

A singer seriously ill with a severe form of ME has asked musicians and studio technicians to help finish her debut album.

Kara Jane Spencer, 29, from Derbyshire, was diagnosed with the condition 13 years ago after suddenly losing the ability to walk.

She now has severely restricted movement and requires full-time nursing care.

Despite this, writing and singing songs has remained her passion.

ME - short for myalgic encephalomyelitis - is described by the NHS as a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms.

Ms Spencer's severe symptoms have led doctors to warn it could shorten her life expectancy.

Image source, Kara Jane Spencer
Image caption,
Ms Spencer has been dealing with severe ME for 13 years

Despite her worsening health, Ms Spencer has been working hard to put together an album of her own songs.

A family friend has helped to record the vocals one line at a time from her bed.

Now her family has started looking for musicians to record backing tracks plus an audio engineer to mix the recordings and complete the album.

Graphic designers were also being sought to help with the album art and promotional material.

Her friend Naomi Whittingham explained: "She is unable to sing more than a line or two at once, and with hospital admissions adding further delays, this a process that has taken nearly two years.

"Her dream is to produce an album of her own songs while it is still possible.

"Kara is a gifted singer and songwriter. The themes of loss, pain and fragile hope in her songs will resonate with many, particularly in these difficult times."

Image source, Kara Jane Spencer
Image caption,
Ms Spencer had been happy and healthy before the illness

Ms Spencer said: "For me it would mean my life's accomplishment. It would be my legacy I'd be leaving to the world so I know I made an imprint.

"If those sales could then fund ME research to make sure others don't suffer like I and so many have, then I will die a very happy lady. I wouldn't feel as if my life was a waste then."

What is severe ME?

  • A survey by the charity Action For ME found a quarter of people with ME had the severe form
  • Full or part-time care was required for 66% of those with severe ME
  • NICE describes the condition as "difficult and complex" to manage and requiring specialist expertise

Source: Action for ME/NICE

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