It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our past Chairman, Professor Rodney Taylor on 3rd May 2017, after his MDS progressed to AML.
MDS UK Patient Support Group Chairman
Rodney was diagnosed with MDS in 2006 and was invited to become Deputy Chairman when our little patient group was still in its infancy.
Following the death of the then Chairman David Hall, Rodney became Chairman in 2010 and thereafter dedicated an immense amount of his spare time working for and leading the group until late 2016, when it was clear his MDS had progressed and no further treatment was possible.
Rodney's achievements for all MDS patients: NICE approval of Azacitidine
Rodney was an amazing, witty, gentle, very funny and extremely talented Chairman. MDS UK achieved an incredible amount of work under his guidance. The most significant achievement being the NICE approval of the drug Azacitidine in 2010. The MDS community as a whole owes him a huge debt of gratitude for this work which spanned 2 years.
You can read more about Rodney and his amazing career here: http://mdspatientsupport.org.uk/members/prof-rodney-taylor
During his time as Chairman, Rodney met with all stakeholders in the medical and pharmaceutical MDS sector and was immensely appreciated, liked and respected for his views, understanding, advice and personality across all professional and patient groups alike.
Passionate about a good doctor-patient communication
Rodney had two topics he was particularly passionate about resulting from his being a medical doctor as well as a patient.
The first topic was the Doctor/Patient actual communication – as to him this was absolute key to a good consultation, relationship and care overall.
Rodney taught about this and one of his wishes was to re-instate regular courses for physicians about Advanced Communication Skills.
He knew this was a skill that can be improved – and could immensely assist clinicians and therefore also patients – especially in today’s stretched NHS.
Rodney's passion for Quality of Life for MDS patients
The second topic was equally close to his heart – Quality of Life (QOL) for patients. The fact that survival is not always the ultimate aim and that patients’ wishes, desires and situations can differ greatly and need to be respected at all times. Rodney believed that QOL must be measured and assessed on a regular basis at every point in a patient’s life – from diagnosis to death – and acted upon. Rodney believed totally in the QOL of MDS patients and followed his belief in his own treatment.
Rodney was treated with Azacitidine for almost 5 years before undergoing a stem cell transplant at age 71. Three years after the transplant his QOL of life had deteriorated and he did not wish to undergo any further experimental treatments that would have meant more intensive hospital care.
Despite a few serious side-effects over the course of those three years, Rodney carried on working with the CEO and the new Chair until the last few weeks of his life. He continued to give valuable advice, opinions and views on the way ahead for MDS UK, which was much appreciated and extremely helpful to the incoming Chair. His thoughts and views were always given in his caring, considerate style – and his lovely sense of humour.
In Rodney Taylor's Memory
We at MDS UK have grown, learnt and improved thanks to Rodney’s leadership. His death is an immense loss to us. We will maintain our work and dedication to patient support and services – emphasising QOL and good communication at every opportunity - in his memory.
MDS UK was extremely important to him and the work we did was very close to his heart – and so were all the committee members and patients. He cared very deeply – and never missed an opportunity to express it. Equally – Rodney was very close to our heart too.
Rodney had not made his wishes known to MDS UK whilst alive, but he had arranged to have memorial donations directed to our organisation as an option.
We have therefore set up a page in his memory – where you can also leave a message which will be read by all family and friends:
His death comes shortly after that of a previous MDS UK Committee Member, Sharon Berger, who passed away due to similar reasons, after a second transplant.
With the increased research being conducted into MDS we all hope, as Rodney did, that a real cure or at least improved treatments, are on the way for patients.
We thank all the friends, colleagues and patients who have sent in tributes and caring thoughts regarding Rodney. We are very grateful and will pass them on to his family.
We offer our most sincere and caring condolences to his wife Janet, to his children Alice, Beatrice and Romilly and to his many grand-children.
Rodney was a man of deep faith and quiet conviction. There is a Native American saying which says "when you were born you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice”. Rodney certainly lived his life well and I am sure has received a very warm welcome in heaven. May he rest in peace.