Joanne O’Riordan, the Cork schoolgirl who wowed the UN in New York last month, hopes boyband One Direction will sing a charity single based on her life.
The 16-year-old from Millstreet, Co Cork, was born with no limbs as a result of the rare condition, Total Amelia, and in April addressed the UN International Telecommunication Union conference, asking delegates to build her a robot.
Her story, which grabbed worldwide attention, has resulted in a song composed by Grammy-award winner Julie Gold, who wrote From A Distance, with which Bette Midler had a 1990 global hit.
Yesterday, Joanne’s brother Steven, a filmmaker, said Ms Gold was seeking a big-name performer to record the song No Limits, and that One Direction and the cast of Glee were among those targeted.
“A section of the song is based on Joanne’s life,” Steven said. “It talks about how Joanne’s heart, spirit and mind has helped her to get where she is and achieve what she has achieved.
“We are basically looking for an international superstar. We are chasing One Direction [but] nothing has been agreed.”
Steven, who has been filming aspects of Joanne’s life for a documentary he hopes to release next year, said his sister had drawn up a “top 20” list of recording artists and that Julie Gold was seeking to secure an act to sign the song.
“The aim is that this will be a big thing,” Steven said. “Julie Gold has put the word out and is trying to get One Direction to do it. The other one she is after is Glee.”
One Direction, formed on the X Factor last year and now taking world charts by storm, recently announced a North American tour. One member, Niall Horan, is from Mullingar.
The single would be released in a number of countries, and the O’Riordan family have decided that a portion of the money raised will be donated to the ISPCA and Pieta House.
At the UN conference last month, Joanne told delegates that she wanted technology to be the limbs she did not have, claiming: “This robot would become my hands and legs.”
She received a standing ovation as she said: “I want to live an independent life just like you. I don’t want to live in the shadow of others, because I want to make my own journey in life, and I know if I’m given that chance I can and will succeed.”
Her family hope that, with possible Irish Film Board backing, the documentary on her life could be released early next year, possibly with an event at the Cork Opera House, with invites issued to women who have excelled in their own field.
Steven also revealed that, since her inspiring speech to the UN, a number of offers to help construct a robot have been passed on to Joanne, including one from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He said others who have expressed an interest in the project include the Yaya Lu company, European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes, and Sarah Herrlinger of Apple.
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