Nashville banjo player Todd Taylor is recuperating at home following a brief hospitalization for pneumonia. He wanted to let his many friends who are aware of his serious health issues knowthat he was doing well, and is on the mend.
Todd suffers from a variant of Muscular Dystrophy known as a mitochondrial myopathy. It is a genetic disease which he inherited from his mother, and while it does require close medical supervision during routine illnesses, Todd has lived with the symptoms since he was a young man. His doctors had to convince him to got into the hospital recently when a mild respiratory infection progressed to pneumonia, and he says that if they had their way he would still be under hospital care. But he knows his body and his reactions and feels perfectly comfortable recovering at home.
He has been a long time and very vocal supporter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and has performed on their telethon a number of times since his initial recovery. In fact, his determination to set the Guinness World Record for fastest banjo player was intended primarily to show other MD patients that the disease does not mean a complete loss of function. He was so certified in 2008 for performing Duelin’ Banjos at a speed of 210 bpm.
Taylor has made a career out of taking the five string to audiences who don’t follow bluegrass, and serves as an inspiration for others with degenerative disease. Mitochondrial myopathy typically strikes young people in their early twenties, and and can be a devastating diagnosis to receive just as your adult life is beginning.
Ken Marler, Todd’s booking manager, tells us that his hardest task right now is keeping Todd from jumping up and trying to return to his regular activities, as his doctors have insisted on rest for the near future. But Ken says Todd is a fighter, and has fought this disease since he was diagnosed.
Taylor is very proud of his role as a spokesperson for the Gretsch guitar company, and will be working with them later this year as they roll out some big news for the banjo world.
He said that he appreciates all the prayers that people are sending his way.
Messages of support can be sent via his web site.