Brain injury survivor Emma Martins, from Norwich, was once a globe-trotting television producer for the Discovery Channel. Her job involved travelling the world, filming on location in places like the United States and China.
She now produces a podcast – The Longest Battle - focusing on the stories of individuals who have gone through life-changing experiences, inspired by her own battle with brain injury.
While on holiday in Vietnam, Emma was struck down by acute disseminated encephalomyelitis - a rare virus that causes the brain to attack itself. She was given only a 20% chance of survival.
Emma was flown back to the UK where she spent five weeks in hospital and a further four months in a neuro-rehabilitation clinic.
Unfortunately, the effects of the brain injury have meant that Emma has had to give up her TV producing career. Despite this, she is still determined to live life to the full and continues to travel the world. She also volunteers for the RNIB and has run a half marathon.
Emma received help from Headway East London to produce a short film for her podcast. She hopes to use her experiences to help inspire others through her series.
The guests on my podcast are celebrities who have battled adversity and come out the other side.
Speaking about how she started the podcast, Emma said: “I was three years into my recovery and I was doing work experience at Acast, which is a podcast company, when the team there suggested I make my own podcast. I decided that it was a great idea and so it began!
“I decided to create the podcast because I wanted to help other people.
"I thought it was a good way to raise awareness for all kinds of disabilities, as well as provide hope for people, or families, that are currently going through their own battles.
“I have a few guests on the show who have suffered brain injuries and aneurysms, such as ‘The Popes’ and ‘The Pogues’ member, Paul ‘Maddog’ McGuinness, and former Bond girl, Maryam d'Abo.”
Emma hopes that through her podcast she can show that it is possible to come through adversity and still achieve amazing feats.
“Everyone on the podcast is inspirational," said Emma.
“There are two people that particularly stood out to me,” she recalls.
“One would have to be Kiko Matthews. She’s the fastest woman to cross the Atlantic on her own all while battling Cushing’s syndrome which resulted from a near-fatal tumour on her pituitary gland - such a hardcore woman and truly inspirational.
“The other has to be David Butler. He was 11-years-old when he found an unexploded bomb and ended up losing three of his limbs. Since then he has gone on to be the only disabled driver to have an international race and rally licence. He really has changed the face of racing for disabled people everywhere.”
Looking towards the future, Emma hopes to create more podcasts and share more survivor stories.
“I have really enjoyed working on this series and I would love to do more. Of course, I encourage everyone to listen to my podcast. It can be found on Spotify, Acast, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – just search for ‘The Longest Battle’ and subscribe for updates.”
If you would like to contact Emma or see more of her story, please visit www.thelongestbattle.com
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