Rhiannon inspires new podcast to help others

A Derry couple have launched a podcast to share the lessons for life they learned from their late daughter.

Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 11:54 am
Alan and Shauna Bates with their daughter Rhiannon

Shauna and Alan Bates’ daughter Rhiannon was just 13 when she passed away almost seven years ago.

However Rhiannon had defied medics expectations after she was diagnosed with late infantile Battens disease when she was six. Shauna and Alan were told she had a life expectancy of six and a half to seven years old.

The couple travelled the world with Rhiannon, despite her serious medical issues, and made sure she was living her best life everyday.

Alan and Shauna have launched a new podcast 'Beyond Circumstance' which is available on streaming platforms now.

This week they have launched the Beyond Circumstance podcast and they hope to help people in need with the lessons they learned from Rhiannon.

Shauna said their outlook on life was ‘always a wee bit different’. “After we were given the prognosis for Rhiannon, we decided we can’t control the fact that she is going to die, we can only control how she is going to live.”

She credits this positive outlook as one of the main reasons Rhiannon defied the doctors expectations. “Children pick up the things you do, what you say and how you live life. Ours was always a positive attitude, we wanted to see how much of an amazing life Rhiannon could live. There was never any restrictions imposed upon her, it was always you can do whatever you want to do. It might be in a different way, but you can still do it. Rhiannon thought that way and I think her mindset was a lot to do with the length of her life.”

Alan said that their experience with Rhiannon has given them an ‘enormous skill set’. “Our reach locally is very limited in what we can do, so we decided to set up this podcast. If we don’t share that experience and help people that is almost disrespecting Rhiannon’s legacy.”

Alan said the podcast is not just for people who have a disabled family member, but also for anyone who feels trapped by their circumstances.

“So many people think the are trapped by their circumstances. They just need that wee lift to look over the wall and see what is beyond it.”

Shauna adds that people experience many different forms of loss aside from death. “It could be the loss of a job, health or a relationship and we want people to know you don’t have to be defined by it. You can move beyond it and start, not just to cope everyday, but to live and thrive again. That is what we want to share with people.”

The couple said the podcast is being launched at an appropriate time, because there are so many people in need and experiencing loss as a result of the pandemic.

“People are so exposed to the pandemic 24/7 in the news and on social media,” Alan said. “I think the long lasting legacy of this pandemic will be mental health and emotional well being and there is nowhere near enough support in the system to cope.”

Shauna said that Rhiannon always inspired people and they want to continue that.

“When Rhiannon was alive, no matter how disabled she became, when someone was in her presence she gave and served in some way that inspired people. That is without saying a word. It is so important for us to take that and give it again. That is her legacy and that is what we are driven to do every day.”

The Beyond Circumstance podcast will be available every Tuesday via a number of streaming platforms. Shauna and Alan also want people to get in touch who are in need of help.