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06 February 2023

Hope Reborn: How it started

Our Digital Engagement Manager, Zoe Johnston, spoke with our interim CEO, Stephen Richards, about Hope Reborn, an exciting new music composition and film launching on Friday 10th February 2023.

Hope Reborn is a powerful new single and music video directed and produced by composer Fabio D’Andrea in partnership with Overcoming MS and the MS Society. It captures the challenges of life with MS, with the aim to raise vital funds and spread a message of hope for everyone living with MS. Find out more here.

Stephen, how did the idea for Hope Reborn begin?

Fabio is a personal friend of my wife. They’ve known each other for a while through TV and media connections, from when she worked in the US. In May 2022, Fabio came over for dinner with us and we were discussing his work covering social causes through beautifully powerful music and short videos. I was aware of the projects he had produced which tackled grief, loss and mental health, with his amazing music accompanying the videos.

I had also seen his work with Mel B, producing ‘Love Should Not Hurt’ in 2021 in support of Women’s Aid, looking at the issue of domestic violence. I remember seeing Fabio and Mel B being interviewed on News at 10 on ITV, and thinking about how powerful music can be to spread awareness of such an important topic. 

That evening, Fabio asked me if I would like him to produce and direct a composition and short film, to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis. I said yes, of course! I didn’t know at all what it would look like, except that I’d like it to have a very real but hopeful message. That’s really important to Overcoming MS and he understood the importance of this.

How did the partnership with the MS Society come about?

Fabio suggested working with the MS Society on this project, with the aim of raising funds for both charities. I then met with Nick Moberly, the CEO of the MS Society, who was equally excited about being involved in the project, and by early summer everything was on track for the filming which would take place in October and November. 

For me, it’s fabulous we’re working in partnership with the MS Society and with Rose Leslie, who’s an ambassador for the MS Society and who agreed to play the lead character in the video. It’s also fabulous to be working with Fabio, who is not only a talented musician but he is also funding this project in its entirety. He is an incredibly generous and gifted person, so we are incredibly lucky to have his support and to work with him on this short film.

It’s also fantastic that so many people living with MS, many of whom follow the Overcoming MS program, have been included in the filming This happened in a number of locations including the shop scene, restaurant and tube scenes. Especially in the final dance scene, we had a number of volunteers involved as extras. So throughout the film, there are people who follow our program, supporters of ours, participating, and I hope they felt part of it all. 

What did it feel like on the final filming day, when everyone came together? 

I was so emotional, so pleased and so proud actually. I was with Linda Bloom, the Overcoming MS charity Founder and President, and we stood next to each other watching the filming. I had this overwhelming feeling of pride. From the very first early thoughts in May about what this project could become, I was seeing it actually happening in reality in front of me. It was unforgettable!

A great choreographer, spectacular dancers, tremendous music from Fabio, Rose Leslie with her wonderful performance, and people living with MS participating, all coming together in aid of spreading a message of hope for people with MS. For us it couldn’t get much better. 

How can people support Overcoming MS through the Hope Reborn project? 

The downloads of the music single are going to be so important, as Fabio agreed to donate a significant portion of the profits equally to the two charities involved. It would be fabulous if as many people as possible, supporters of ours, friends, families and others, can download it from iTunes or Amazon. We could even get it into the charts, which would be amazing! 

Steve, Fabio and Linda Photo by Ralu Chase Photography

Hope Reborn will be released on Friday 10th February, you can learn more about it here.

A message from Linda Bloom, charity Founder and President 

The Hope Reborn single and accompanying film is such an exciting collaboration between the MS Society and Overcoming MS. To have a world class musician and classical composer advocating on our behalf about the importance of raising awareness of multiple sclerosis is very meaningful. We are all here to serve the MS community and to give hope and empower people with what is possible and this beautiful piece of work inspires a powerful change in people’s perceptions of MS.

Fabio has put his heart and soul into this project and I was so pleased to be at the filming of the final scene and to witness him at work. Seeing so many creatives come together for a good cause was very inspiring and I left excited and uplifted by the power of this music composition and powerful piece of film.

Behind the scenes: