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‘Class act’ – Newport unveil special kit for MND in support of former player Jason Bowen

Newport County have been praised after they took to unveil a special kit for MND in support of their former player Jason Bowen.

It was announced earlier in 2023, that Bowen has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease, in what has been a tough time for him and his family.

He’s determined not to look too far ahead and just enjoy what he has now, with the debilitating condition affecting the brain and nerves, and currently no cure for the illness.

MND sadly claimed the life of rugby player Doddie Weir, with rugby league star Rob Burrow currently living with the disease.


Newport County has launched a special ‘one-off’ kit in aid of former striker Jason Bowen and the charity MNDA.

The limited-edition kit will be worn by Graham Coughlan’s men when the Exiles take on Stockport County on November 25 at Rodney Parade to help raise funds for Jason, the charity and help raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

The County legend, who was diagnosed with MND three years ago, spent four years with the Exiles from 2003-07 and quickly became a fans’ favourite after scoring 48 goals in 149 appearances.

MND is a condition that affects the brain and the nervous system. There is currently no cure for MND, but there is treatment available to help reduce the impact on a person’s everyday life.

Jason, who made a special visit to Rodney Parade recently to give his approval to the special kit, said: “The support I have received from Newport County has been amazing,” he started.

“They’ve always invited me for games, they’ve done various fundraisers, bucket collections and now the new shirt for MND.

“I can’t thank Newport County enough, they’ve been amazing.”

Richard Shackelford, Regional Fundraiser for MND in Wales, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Newport County and to see our logo on the special matchday kit.

“We are also very grateful to the club for supporting the work of the Association by donating 15 per cent of the sales of the replica shirt and bucket collections on the day. We rely almost entirely on the public for our funding and thanks to this support we will be able to continue our work supporting people affected by MND.”

The special shirt is available now for fans to purchase and show their support for Jason and MND.

The club, in conjunction with retail partner VX3, will donate up to £10 from every shirt sold to Jason towards his treatment costs, with 15 percent of all monies raised going to MNDA.

You can watch the kit unveiling to Jason here.

The shirt is available to purchase online by clicking here or from the official club shops at the Kingsway and Rodney Parade.

In February 2023, the ex-Wales midfielder spoke for the first time since being diagnosed with the life-shortening illness.

Jason said as per WalesOnline: “The doctor just came out and gave it to me straight. He said, ‘look you’ve got Motor Neurone Disease’.

“I asked what the timescale was and he said ‘Three to five years’.

“It was terrible coming home and telling Hayley and the boys what’s happening. But I’m still here I’m still fighting as much as I possibly can and I’ll take it on for as long as I possibly can.”

His partner, Hayley, have been together for over 30 years and are parents to three boys; Jaye, 27, Sam, 22, and Theo, 14.

“At first it was just awful, heartbreaking, and really hard to understand,” said Hayley. “To be told that you will lose use of your limbs, your ability to move and eat your own food, it is just horrendous.

“But whenever he needs help, I am by his side.”

“I’m just trying to stay as positive as I can. I’m taking care of my health and doing what I can,” Jason adds. “In physio they say, ‘Use it until you lose it’, so that’s what I’m trying to do.”

“He has a really strong, determined mindset. He would say ‘I am going to be the one to beat this’ – but I know there is no cure,” said Hayley.

“When I’m having a meltdown day and I do feel down, Jason is amazing. He says, ‘Look I’m fine, I’m going to be fine’ – but I know he’s not.”

Jason and Hayley had previously cared for Hayley’s mother Beryl, who motor neurone disease for around two years, then passed aged 64.

“I think that’s the really difficult part, we have been hit by something quite rare twice,” said Hayley.

Jason said: “I thought ‘Surely she couldn’t have a double whammy, it couldn’t happen twice to her.’ I was thinking more of Hayley than myself in all honesty.

“I had an inkling, but it was still a shock when the doctor did tell me. Hayley was like, ‘No, no it’s carpal tunnel syndrome,’ so I think she had more of a shock than I did.”

Hayley said: “Losing my mum was heartbreaking. I have never felt anything like that in my life. But when it is your husband it’s on a different level.

“Some nights I just don’t sleep. I’m constantly looking at research, what’s being done, what’s out there, what supplements are there, what drugs there are. I’m just trying to find something.”

“I don’t want to see what’s coming,” Jason spoke about how tough it is for him coming to terms with looking into the illness. “There is a support network out there, but I don’t want to see people in wheelchairs or people who can’t talk. I don’t want to see that. I want to stay in a positive mindset.”

Hayley said: “We have talked about him dying, his wishes and what care would be in place, but at the moment we try not to think about those dark things and just live each day as it comes.”

Jason said on sharing the news to his sons and others: “Putting it all out there was a little bit scary because with my youngest boy, we kind of watered it all down for him.”

Hayley said: “Theo was pretty heartbroken, but we only told Theo what he needed to know. Like today we said, ‘Dad is fine, he is doing really well, and he is still taking you to football.’

“I had to explain to him ‘Everybody dies at some point, but Dad is not dying today’ and that is all I could really focus on. Today. That day.

“He wasn’t born when we were going through things with my Mum, so he hasn’t got that negative experience with the disease. He just sees dad as carrying on as normal.”

“My eldest son, Jaye was 25 when Jason was diagnosed. He really struggled because he is old enough to remember my mum and my middle one, Sam, was exactly the same,” said Hayley.

Jason said: “The boys can see how well I’m doing so I think they aren’t as worried at the minute.

“I think their attitude is, well, ‘Dad’s fine, so you know we should be fine too’.”

Hayley added: “On the day the news broke in the media Jason had a meltdown – he just couldn’t believe so many people wanted to help.”

Jason said: “I saw all the support and I see people doing things just to keep me on this earth for as long as I possible.”

For physio, hydrotherapy and supplements, it costs approximately £1,200 a month for Jason.

“It all just mounts up. But I want to do all these things so I can stay as strong as I can for as long as I can,” said Jason.

Twitter users reacted as League Two club Newport County unveil a special kit for MND in support of former player Jason Bowen…

@diesel_y2j: What a club, what a player. ♥️

@Gwebb125: Looks excellent purchased mine

@ChrisEddy_7: Top class this is lads 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

@FryboyRacing: 👏 Showing Class again 🖤🧡

@declanbeckett10: lovely kit for a great cause ❤️

@RalphDavies1: Wonderful idea!!! Would be great to see the Swans do something similar. Anyone who watched us during the early to mid 90s would have enjoyed watching Jason Bowen play.

@CashmereKnits: Love this 🔶⬛️

@rocjam93: Well in. Great cause.

@LloydJohnMoore1: Class touch 😍😍

@DOsull27: Absolutely blessed to watch that man rip teams apart week in week out back in the day. One of the best to put the shirt on. 🎵 super Jason Bowen 🎵 #UTC

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