'Tipping Point' helps save voice of woman with motor neurone disease

Julia Hunt
·Contributor
·2-min read

Watch: How Tipping Point helped a woman with motor neurone disease save her voice

Ben Shephard has shared his delight after a woman got her voice back thanks to an appearance on his show Tipping Point.

Helen Whitelaw appeared on the ITV game show two years ago but has since lost her voice after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).

The 76-year-old told STV that the diagnosis was “devastating” for her family, adding: “I wanted people to know what I was saying, and I did not want to sound like a machine.”

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Whitelaw’s voice had deteriorated too much to use it to make a communication aid, but it turned out her Tipping Point appearance could be used.

Helen joined Good Morning Britain to share her progress with Tipping Point host Ben Shepherd (ITV)
Helen joined Good Morning Britain to share her progress with Tipping Point host Ben Shepherd (ITV)

Engineers were able to listen to her voice on the show and used audio recordings to help them reconstruct it.

Shephard and Whitelaw were reunited for a video call on Good Morning Britain, and the presenter said it was “so lovely” to see the former contestant.

Helen Whitelaw appeared on Tipping Point two years ago (ITV)
Helen Whitelaw appeared on Tipping Point two years ago. (ITV)

Whitelaw then typed something into a computer, and her voice was heard saying: “I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Shephard was clearly thrilled and replied: “That’s amazing and that’s you, that’s you talking as well Helen.

Ben was thrilled to catch up with Helen on GMB (ITV)
Ben was thrilled to catch up with Helen on GMB. (ITV)

"That is fabulous.”

Viewers were touched by the moving segment.

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“@benshephard what a lovely thing to do for Helen Whitelaw who was on @TippingPointITV a few years ago but was diagnosed with MND last year. I'm sure your video call to her gave her a real boost," said one person on Twitter.

Ben Shephard will be returning to Tipping Point filming after it was suspended back in March. (RDF Television/ITV)
Ben Shephard on Tipping Point. (RDF Television/ITV)

Another posted: "@GMB story this morning about Helen Whitelaw gaining her voice back through Tipping Point is just wonderful! Thinking out of the box to give dignity and respect through the power of technology."

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According to the NHS, MND is "an uncommon condition that affects the brain and nerves" and "causes weakness that gets worse over time".

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