AOK Events partners with Don't Ignore the Elephant podcast

CSR / 

AOK Events has agreed a partnership deal with the ‘Don’t Ignore the Elephant’ podcast hosted by Dr Liz O’Riordan as part of a drive around wellbeing, sustainability and giving back.

O'Riordan, a breast surgeon who’s had breast cancer, launched the podcast as another way to help people and is known for talking about the ‘elephants’ that no one else talks about with gentleness, integrity, and good humour. 

Series 2 of the podcast launches in September, with Alex Hewitt, the founder and CEO of AOK Events as a guest speaker.  

Hewitt spoke to O'Riordan about his own mental health ‘wobble’ as he was forced to make some of the toughest decisions of his life during the global pandemic, when he saw what he’d built up over 20 years disappear before his eyes as the events industry and sporting sector shut down.

“It’s not often I get the chance to talk about Tyson Fury and the menopause in one sentence - but if this podcast helps any other man to speak up and say to a friend or loved one that they’re not feeling ok that’s got to be a good thing,” said Hewitt.

“I went through the hardest experience of my life during the early months of Covid. I’m a dad to three teenage boys, I want them to be able to talk about masculinity and mental health and loads of other things. And those who know me will know how delighted I am to say that business is now booming - we’ve just had our busiest month in our 22 year history - and I’m living proof that if we have the right support, we can get through things and come out the other side. I’ve changed but I’m now stronger.”   

Dr O’Riordan added: “We all have our own ‘elephants’ and mine is cancer. I’d spent my life breaking women with bad news but this time I was left broken after my own cancer diagnosis as it took so much away from me - and no one was talking about the things that impacted my life and career forever. I was put in an instant early menopause, I was made infertile, my body was changed as I have one breast, I lost my sex life overnight and couldn’t take HRT, I was in physical pain - and my marriage wasn’t going to survive. My mental health was on the floor.

“Everyday someone will experience the death of a loved one, work with a disability, have a relationship breakdown, be bullied, struggle with an addiction, be in an unhealthy relationship - or just be overwhelmed - it’s so important we get people to talk and know they’re not alone.

“I was amazed at the comments that started coming in after the first episode last year and the impact it was having – the things people share with me shows I’m helping and as a surgeon I’m used to helping people, but this is so personal. The first series was entirely self-funded and so when Alex offered to help it meant we can cover our production costs and I was overjoyed as work’s somewhere where we spend so much of our time - and if good employers can genuinely help encourage that conversation with their staff, clients and suppliers - to recognise that life events do happen, I know it will help.

“It’s fabulous that AOK do so much with sport, as exercise is such an important part of my life, and it may help reduce the risk of my cancer coming back a third time - so it would be great if through this partnership we could inspire more people to get active or experience some nice things!” 

To listen to the podcast, visit your usual podcast platforms.

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