I have been meaning to post this for ages and always forget! So I thought this Saturday evening would be the perfect time to share…
Back in February I mentioned that I was working with the British Heart Foundation, to make two short films creating awareness of what it’s like to be diagnosed with a heart condition during your life, rather than at birth.
Having been diagnosed with a heart condition at birth and lived with it all my life, it was interesting to step into someone else’s shoes to represent another side to it.
Today we premièred the films in one of London’s most amazing venues, in the heart of Southbank, at the BFI. It was a great experience and so lovely to meet up with the cast and crew again. After a long wait, I was so excited to see the final result!
It was an extremely weird sensation seeing myself on the big screen! As an aspiring actress it was a fab experience and not something I thought I would ever see, but what was even more rewarding is the cause behind it. Having been through it all myself, I know how important awareness is, and although these films may not be able to take away the fact that they have a heart condition, I hope it can be some sort of comfort for them. No one should have to face their condition alone and for me that was my motivation to really bring this character, Jamie, to life.
Young heart patients were involved with the whole process. I think that’s the best thing the British Heart Foundation did, because it makes the films truthful and realistic but also proves that, despite our conditions, we are capable of doing amazing things, having fun and doing what we love! – The films portray this brilliantly, showing great energy, good friendship and fun, especially in the behind the scenes video. What I find so great about the films is that they show the situation from everyone’s perspective. Expressing the worries and difficulties some people may face, views that perhaps as a patient, family member or friend we may not have thought about before.
The British Heart Foundation took a serious situation and turned it into something fun & informative. The films wouldn’t be as good as they are if there was no element of hope and humour, reminding everyone involved and affected by the situation, that some things may change but that your life doesn’t have to stop there. Having a heart condition, or any illness for that matter, shouldn’t affect who you are or what you do!
The films ended and I couldn’t help but smile, thinking about all the time and effort that went in to making them. The amazing people that were involved and that brought the whole thing to life. It’s a great feeling knowing that these films are going to help so many people for so many different reasons.
The comments after were positive and encouraging and during the question and answer session, I was asked what it was like to have a scar, how realistic the films were and if the shoot was a challenge for me, plus lots more. It felt so good to be able to tell the audience that I have been there, answering their questions from my personal experience and saying that yes, at times it can be a little scary and hard but that there is so much support out there for everyone affected and that often there are many more positives than negatives.
I would like to thank the British Heart Foundation for giving me this opportunity, to share Jamie’s story and raise awareness in a creative way. I know that if I had been in this situation a video like this would have definitely helped me and those around me! I am just so glad that I am able to provide that for someone else. To reassure them that it will all be OK and to encourage loved ones to see that everything can and will go back to normal, reminding everyone that we are not our illness!
Click on the following links to see both short films, plus the behind the scenes!