November 24, 2019

BBC Radio Ulster – Being on the panel of the John Toal Show

How fast a week flies! Last Saturday I had the pleasure of being a guest on the John Toal Show on BBC Radio Ulster.

After the Irish news article was released I was contacted by the shows wonderful producer to come on the show…without really thinking I accepted and before I knew it I was at BBC reception getting my pass and brought in front of the coloured mics.

Now…for those of you that know me…I had a very brief stint of being a radio DJ when I was in America. However…noone really listened to that except my loyal family and a few of the students who sat outside the radio station studying. My content planning consisted of looking at Radio 1s playlist, picking out my favourites and putting the songs on a USB. In all honesty, very little thought was put into it and I rocked into the station and chatted crap to my friend Charlotte every single week. Why did I do it?? Well they needed someone for UK music hour and it was also a good chance to transport myself back into what I considered good music and not the American country music that so many on campus listened to. I mean…everyone loves a bit of Shania but this was different league.. I will allow Cruise by Florida Georgia Line but everything else I was like no…I was in awe of how much these young people loved country music. Back home this was not cool…this was before Nathan Carter and the Derek Ryan revolution (who I’m still not a fan of but yano…context and all that).

This time though I really felt that I had to prepare. The producer told me just to speak from the heart but I felt that I had to get the right message across. If someone was to only hear a snippet of the show I wanted it to be informative. I was also conscious that other people with Narcolepsy would be listening. I didn’t want to portray our condition in the wrong light.

After a week’s reflection, I am so glad that I went on the radio. It was quite exciting to visit the BBC studio, meet John Toal and the rest of the lovely guests. They had Paula McIntyre who baked choux buns with chocolate and spiced orange cream, Pamela Laird from this year’s apprentice, Agne who was a fashion designer and was arm knitting in the studio and Gillian Tuit, a singer/songwriter who performed live in the studio. It was a lovely mix of people, touching on such a variety of life subjects. I loved watching Agnes’s skills (go follow her on insta @ona.by.agne her stuff is amazing and she runs classes too!) and hearing Pamela’s stories about the Apprentice!! She kindly brought in some of her amazing Moxi Loves products for us to try. As I love all things entrepreneurial I was delighted to meet her and I can’t wait to find out the outcome of the Apprentice! The show was over before I knew it and we said our goodbyes. It was a lovely show to be on discussing lifestyle and there is really something for everyone to take away from it in all the stories shared I really recommend tuning in! There are 21 days left to listen to this show and you can check it out here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000bfcj

The reaction to the show was lovely and reaffirmed my choice to go on and raise awareness. The parents were proud as they are big fans and listen to the show every week. I also helped to raise awareness of my condition, which was the most important thing. I was contacted by a few people who had Narcolepsy and hadn’t met anyone else before so we had a few new members to our facebook group Narcolepsy Ireland and Narcolepsy in Northern Ireland. I felt super nervous before the show but it made getting over the nerves all the more worthwhile knowing that I had helped even one person.

Other thoughts after the show…

  1. It’s amazing what you can do when you put yourself outside of your comfort zone.
  2. People were actually interested in hearing my story.
  3. I actually loved doing it and would love to do more to raise awareness now that I have put myself out there.
  4. I worry a lot that I would say the wrong thing but Narcolepsy and my condition is something I have spent years learning about and coming to terms with. I naturally store a lot of knowledge about it and therefore it was easier to talk about although I am no expert.
  5. I’m still definitely a Derry girl – the word ‘crabbit’ came out of the archives as I struggled to find a word to describe how you feel when you’re sleep deprived haha.

Going forward I want to sort of split my story between daily thoughts and monthly posts about the historic story. In the meantime (imagine BBC voice) if you or anyone you know has been affected by Narcolepsy please visit the following websites:

https://narcolepsyireland.org/

https://www.narcolepsy.org.uk/

Happy Sunday everyone!

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