A mammogram saved my life…

Avril Saunders appeared as a Case Study in THE SUN newspaper’s Health section yesterday.

The Sun newspaper - health section

Avril was one of three ladies in The Sun

A couple of months ago Avril emailed me via my website Featureworld – which I run to help people sell their true life stories to the press. Her story was simple – she had gone for a routine mammogram (the screening test available for women to detect breast cancer early) – and been shocked to be diagnosed with cancer.
Avril, a grandmother, has never smoked, always ate healthily and took exercise and so it was the last thing she ever expected.
Worse the tumour was discovered to be aggressive and Grade three. However, because screening had caught it so early it hadn’t spread and the only treatment she needed was surgery to remove it and some radiotherapy.
I knew Avril’s story would be perfect if I were ever doing a feature on this – and on Wednesday when The Sun Health team contacted me to see if I had anyone like Avril on my books, I was able to put her forward.
The Sun were doing a feature following up on the news story that some doctors believe mammograms do more harm than good because they identify lumps that might not ever progress to cancer or spread – and then women might undergo unnecessary treatment.
However, Avril and two other ladies went into The Sun to tell women not to abandon screening – as Avril says she is proof that it does save lives. She feels lucky her breast cancer was caught early and wants to encourage other women to do the same.
Avril feels so strongly about screening that she has written a book. Called Mammograms Save Lives, it will be available from Amazon Online, Waterstones, and WH Smiths and all profits will go to Breast Cancer Care and McMillan Nurses. Find out more here.

You might like: Breast cancer reunited me with my birth mum

If you would like the opportunity to take part in selected features and at the same time earn some money, why not apply for the Featureworld newsletter at Featureworld Casting website.

To see which stories editors are currently looking for interviewees for click here: Magazine Updates

For editors looking for an interviewee like Avril click here: Find a Case Study.


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Meet Spiderman, Willy Wonka and Pudsey bear – craze for changing your name…

Story in THE SUN newspaper about the number of people changing their names by deed poll – often to something crazy…

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Friends Daniel and Kelvin changed their names...

Last week at Featureworld we spent several hours following up the number of people who have changed their names.
For this story in The Sun newspaper we found Daniel (Emperor Spiderman) and Kelvin (Baron Venom) – friends who on a whim both decided to change their names to Marvel characters. They now have the longest names in the world…
We also spoke to Pudsey Bear (Eileen DeBont) who changed her name to raise money for Children in Need but is now very used to being called Pudsey.
Then there was Willy Wonka (John Denton) – another person who has changed his name to raise money, this time for cancer research. He will change all his documents when he has raised around £5000. Fiancee Heather jokes she doesn’t want to marry until he’s changed his name back though – she’s not that keen on becoming a Mrs Wonka apparently.
Then there is Michael Knight (he was Stuart Morgan), a Knight Rider fan, who recently changed it because he has a car like the one hero Michael Knight had – he has adapted this car to say ‘Hello Michael’ when he got in. Only the problem was he was still a Stuart so changed his name to fit the car…
What I didn’t realise until I began researching this feature was how popular changing your name is. Online site Legal Deed Poll – which offers the fastest way to change your name – tell me in 2010 some 90,000 people changed their names. Some couples ‘blend’ their surnames on marriage. I did this myself when I married my husband – he was a Smith and I was a Squire! But it’s actually incredibly simple to change your name to anything you want. Going through Legal Deed Poll means the whole process can be done online and costs around £33 – within a couple of days you will have legally changed your name…

If you’ve changed your name by deed poll, I’d love to know the story behind it – and it could be a saleable story for a newspaper or magazine. Contact me here: Sell My Deed Poll Story


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GP misdiagnosed my husband and he died …


Isabelle Wingrove’s story appeared in THE SUN newspaper yesterday.

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Isabelle's emotional story appeared in The Sun newspaper.

Isabelle Wingrove and her two sons have been through a nightmare. When husband Jeff collapsed with a terrible headache, she rang her GP for advice. She was put through to an out of hours service and when, as Jeff’s condition worsened, she begged the GP she spoke to there to come out and visit, she refused.
Instead she diagnosed harmless vertigo. Over the next 24 hours Jeff’s condition got much worse – but the GP, Dr Francisca Ogunbiyi, simply said if Isabelle was worried, she should bring Jeff to hospital herself. Isabelle also called an ambulance but they also diagnosed vertigo.
The following day Isabelle and her youngest son discovered Jeff virtually unconscious. He was then rushed to hospital but it was too late and he died. In fact, he’d had a stroke and doctors told Isabelle if he’d been treated earlier, he would have survived.
Isabelle’s shocking story made headlines in many national newspapers. She has since been awarded a sum of money for negligence. But although the GP was given a warning by the General Medical Council, she was not barred from practice.
Isabelle still grieves for the loss of Jeff, whom she describes as her soulmate – but she was comforted by the fact Jeff’s death went to save the lives of five other people. This was because, as she faced switching off Jeff’s life support, she made the decision to donate his organs.

However, Isabelle says: “Even now I can’t forgive the doctor for what she did. If she had bothered to come out and see Jeff , he would still be alive today.”

Have you made the headlines but want to tell your story again? If so do contact me here: Sell a story to the press.


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Case Study Gill in The Sun …


Interviewee Gill Fletcher appeared in THE SUN newspaper as a case study yesterday contributing to a much larger story on ‘the new alcoholics’.

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Case study: Gill's story was part of a bigger feature


Every day I receive requests from editors and researchers on national newspapers, magazines and TV shows asking for a case study. This is someone whose real-life story is usually run as part of a bigger feature or alongside a news story – and readers and viewers like them as they give the very human aspect to a story.
I have sold Gill’s story before – and so when a request came in just after lunch from The Sun newspaper on Friday, I immediately thought of her. I sent Gill a text asking if she would be happy for me to send her story to The Sun. She was – and later, at 5pm that day, a photographer popped to her home to do a photo.
As with all interviewees whose stories are placed as case studies, there is always a Featureworld payment for their time. And if you want to be a case study, I don’t need to have sold your story before – many people come via my Featureworld Casting Directory. There, you can sign up to free alerts from editors and TV researchers, applying to the case study requests that interest you for free.

Meanwhile, just as interviewees such as Gill can be sure of a personal service, so can editors and TV producers. I am not signed to any case study link service but offer a finding case study service to put publications and TV researchers in contact with prospective interviewees. For more details click here: Case Study Finding Service.

Requests for newspapers, magazines and TV, are sent out to interviewees signed up on the Featureworld Casting Directory.

Meanwhile TV researcher’s requests are also show-cased on their own very popular page: Casting Opportunities.


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Our big fat sponsored wedding…!

Khrystal Barton’s quirky real life story appeared in THE SUN newspaper yesterday.

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Khrystal explains her sponsored wedding in The Sun


When Khrystal Barton emailed me about her sponsored wedding, I knew it would be a story that would interest a newspaper.
Khrystal was delighted when fiance Ian proposed on the day of the Royal wedding this year. But when she counted up the cost of her dream white wedding, it came to around £20,000. And although the couple could afford to fund it, they felt it was a lot of money to splash out on one day. At the same time, Khrystal didn’t want to give up on the wedding she’d always imagined she’d have.
But then she googled ‘how to fund a wedding’ and saw that in the States, many people have their weddings sponsored. This means businesses might give a discounted service in return for advertising plug on the wedding day.
So guests are told who supplied the food and businesses who provided the dresses, photos, flowers – and all the other many services that go to make a day special.
Brides to be will often enclose business leaflets in the invites, they will be mentioned in the order of service and business cards will be provided for guests to pick up. Sponsors are often mentioned in the speeches as well.
Critics claim sponsored weddings can be tacky but the bonus is the couple can end up with a heavily discounted wedding day – and Khrystal and Ian are set for their wedding next year to be virtually free!

Khrystal said: “We were delighted The Sun took up our story. Ian and I – and particularly my parents – also adored the photo The Sun took of us!”

For those interested, the full list of sponsors from East Sussex, are as follows! Rings: Smooch;Teeth Whitening: Godstone Dental Care; Manicure and tans:Body Sense Beauty Treatments; Harp: Harp Music By Margret; Hair: Simply Beautiful Wedding Hair; Caterers: Summer House Foods; Photos: ESP Photographic; Video: Lane Productions (Videographers); Flowers: The Flowershop (Uckfield) ltd; Venue: Broyle Place; Suit hire: Dickie’s Suit Hire; Bride’s dress: Patricia Diamond Bridal Suite;Fireworks: Dynamic Fireworks;Toastmaster: Paul Mitchell, banners: Sign Tek.

Do you have a story to sell? Contact me here: Sell story


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Custody battle over frozen embryos…

Sarah Robinson’s story about how she might face a custody battle over frozen embryos with her ex appears in THE SUN newspaper today.

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Sarah talks in The Sun about the difficulties she and her ex face over their frozen embryos...


When Sarah got breast cancer and was told treatment might make her infertile, she and her then boyfriend Carl, decided to have embryos frozen.
So shortly before she underwent chemo and radiotherapy, her eggs were harvested and fertilised with Carl’s sperm.
But now the couple have split up – and although the embryos might be Sarah’s only chance of having a family – she is worried she will never be able to use them.
Legally, both of them need one another’s consent before they could use the embryos. Her concerns are that any new man she meets will never be happy about her having her ex-boyfriend’s baby and that any new girlfriend Carl has will be equally unhappy. And Sarah does not know how she would react if it were Carl wanted to use them. Could she be happy knowing another woman was bringing up her biological child.
In fact, both of them realise when they went into this, they did not have enough counselling about the issues involved.
I have followed Sarah’s story for approximately a year now and in line with other interviewees, who come through my website, Featureworld I always endeavour to sell stories again.
Hence, Sarah’s story about how she got cancer in her twenties has already appeared in Fabulous magazine and the Daily Mail newspaper. However, since those stories, the situation between Carl and Sarah has changed and now they’ve split, they face this new dilemma.

Sarah said: “I wanted to get this story out there as I am sure it must be happening with other couples.”

Meanwhile, Carl said: “The story reads well. Thank you very much!”

Do you have an unusual dilemma or angle to a story and want to get it out there in a national newspaper? Do contact me here: Selling my Story


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Stories in the Daily Mirror and The Sun newspapers…

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Paul and Julia in the Daily Mirror

Featureworld interviewees Paul Rix and new wife Julia appeared in the DAILY MIRROR newspaper at the weekend with their quirky love story.
When they met over twenty years ago Julia was best friends with Paul’s wife Tracy. Tracy even made Julia’s wedding dress and Paul and Tracy came to her wedding. They even went out as a foursome.
But then the couples drifted apart and for years dropped all contact … that was until recently when Paul rediscovered Julia via Facebook. By then both had split from their spouses and they began dating. Last month they married, returning home just in time from honeymoon to buy copies of the Mirror to add to their wedding album…

Meanwhile yesterday another Featureworld interviewee appeared in a newspaper – this time THE SUN.

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Lisa talks about being a 'glam granny' in The Sun

Lisa Rogers was just 17 when she gave birth to Jessica, now 19. Then a couple of months ago Jessica gave birth to Harry, making Lisa a granny. Incredibly, Lisa only recently had Jessica’s sister, Lily – who is an aunt to Harry. Lisa tells the newspaper how at first she was shocked at being such a young gran but now Harry is here, she is loving her new role! Plus mum and daughter are more like friends, going with their kids to mums and tots groups.

Julia and Lisa were both paid for their time telling their stories – and both got beautiful cuttings to boot. If you would like to sell a story, contact me here: Sell My Story


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