Lai of 'My Kidney and Lai' Featuring on BBC Radio 1 'Newsbeat'!

Lai of 'My Kidney and Lai'  Featuring on BBC Radio 1 'Newsbeat'!
Lai of 'My Kidney and Lai' with colourful balloons

Oh My Goodness! 😇

This was the one of the best and most exciting things that I have done all year. 🎉

I am so SO grateful to have been given the opportunity to be on BBC Radio 1 'Newsbeat' for an interview. I gave my reaction to the "Rejection Free Kidney Transplant" scientific breakthrough that broke early morning, Friday 22nd September 2023.

It felt so serendipitous! I remember waking up that morning feeling pretty good about my clearance on dialysis from the night before (no negative UF huzzah!) and started work on time too! I saw the news article fairly early on the in morning during my procrastinating news break. It stirred up a lot of feelings in me from, perhaps I could get a transplant sooner to maybe this means that when I do get a transplant I will not have to take as many drugs. However, on further reading I did see that this experimental approach would require specific circumstances for it to be viable nevertheless I thought it was great piece of kidney disease and organ donation awareness. I wonder if they timed the news article to be written during Organ Donation week on purpose!

Not long after, I read the news I got a message from one of the YAKG leads at KCUK that they are looking for young adults on transplant waiting list to give a reaction to the news article on BBC Radio 1! It was such a shocking request at first but then I thought: "why not". It was such a fantastic opportunity and also considerably low stakes! I mean I had already formed a very instant reaction to the article and even posted it on my Instagram stories, there wasn't really anything to prepare.

Within, honestly, like 1 hour of accepting the opportunity I was on a Zoom call with Senior Journalist Reporter Polly Bayfield recording my 15 minute interview. It was pretty nerve wracking! I can be a confident speaker but I think the novelty of it all really took me aback, especially Polly's voice. I listen to a lot of podcasts but not a lot of radio in a long time and unlike the more naturalistic podcasting style, I feel there is that stereotypical industry radio voice. It has that very specific cadence and tone that really threw me when I first got on the Zoom call with Polly. It was quite funny because I feel like she did have to break her radio voice slightly at the start to allow me to adjust. It wasn't that I couldn't' understand her but you associate that style of speaking to the Radio and you don't normally talk back to the Radio!

It was very comical on my side. I guess I got star-struck by the ordeal. All the notes that I scrambled together in the last 30 mins basically went out of the window and all sorts of weird things came out of my mouth. blergh word vomit. 😣

What particularly caught me off guard was the initial introduction to myself. She asked a little about my backstory of my kidney failure, dialysis and working on dialysis. Some of that I felt prepared for but when she asked how I felt about it all, it was a little difficult to respond! Don't want to have a national therapy session 😅. Much happiness for them to cut all that out! Perhaps she thought it would help settle me into the conversation but it is honestly the hardest thing to talk about...FEELINGS.

The thing I found most mortifying about the recording I made was that Polly asked me to explain what dialysis was!?. OMG...I think I totally mistook the direction she wanted, on reflection she probably wanted only like a little summary "a machine that removes waste from the body" but I just went into soooo much detail. I started off explaining that there are multiple types of dialysis namely PD and HD and then went into detail on the technical differences and how it works. FACE PALM. I honestly completely botched it! I don't even think everything I said was factually correct. I went way to too technical and way too emotional in the middle and scientific and probably I wasn't even right. ahhh just makes me cringe.🤐. I'm so glad all that got CUT, props to the editing team at BBC they know how to make the interviewee shine!.

I had only really felt prepared to talk about the article but even then I somehow didn't manage to cover all the bits I wanted to say. I can only put this down to nerves but also the quite skillful questioning of Polly. After hearing the final sound bites aired I can see that Polly was after a certain storyline and statements from myself, which is absolutely fine by the way, and I am so happy that she was able to extract from the details she needed to round out what was I think the perfect sound bite for Newsbeat!

However, I can safely rely on the cohesive and sound messaging of the Doctor from Leeds who featured on the same segment as me, who covered the main message I initially wanted to cover. Namely, the scientific breakthrough would provide better outcomes potentially for ethnic minorities. She explictly sheds light on the fact that organ donation from ethnic minorities is lacking within the UK due to cultural differences and information barriers and as a result the wait times are longer. I was so happy as someone who is waiting on the national transplant waiting list as an ethnic minority that this truth was said!

The truth is the wait is longer for ethnic minorities!

This is part of the long standing health inequities in the UK within the kidney community.

In brighter terms, I got so much good feedback from friends and family. I even had friends of friends reach out to say they had heard me on the Radio! This was just such a cool experience as I have never been on TV or Radio before and I am so glad it's for such a great cause.

Furthermore, I feel like this really shows how far I have come on my kidney journey. I am so much more open about my kidney disease and much more accepting about the realities of it. I try to hold more gratitude in my heart for all the things I do have in my life even whilst on dialysis and keep my heart and mind open to the opportunities that I do have or can strive for. I know myself and my growing skillset for speaking, writing and advocating for young people with kidney disease and I am so fortunate that I got to have a taste of what it is like to do that in a more public arena!

I truly hope and wish that I will have more opportunities like this as I feel like I have so much more to say and want to bring more light to this honestly really underserved community. Kidney disease is a common disease and is truly hidden one from society! There are probably dialysis centres all around the country but how often do we really notice. Anyway get off my soap box... a part of this website is to connect and help other kidney patients around the world but also perhaps be my little platform to share my stories, thoughts and ideas on kidney disease and its place in the public consciousness.

Anyway check out my little moment of fame on BBC Radio 1

Newsbeat, Friday 22nd September 2023
I start speaking at 1:00
Newsbeat - Maddy Cusack tributes - BBC Sounds
We’re hearing about the Sheffield United footballer - who’s died at 27.

😥Unfortunately they have removed audio from their website. Luckily I downloaded it 🤣

Wishing you all well on your kidney journey!

Consider following me on Instagram: @My_Kidney_and_Lai

A lesser known YouTube channel by the same name is available, I am ashamedly have not posted on it in quite some time. Perhaps I shall make a fateful return, watch this space!

DM me if you have come from my website, I would be so excited to hear from you and your thoughts on my website. I am super open to suggested topics. 😁



IGA Nephropathy confirmed at 21. Crashed into End Stage Renal Failure at 23. Now, I share with the world my 3 years lived experience on Home Peritoneal Dialysis and Post Transplant Living 10/10/2023