Cluster Headache Documentary

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Posted by Aki Peterson ( on July 09, 2001 at 07:30:38:

Hello Friends!
I am a 36 year old CH sufferer, thankfully I am in between clusters right now….I work in Elmira, New York, I am currently the morning show producer and also do some anchoring as well. I have wanted to produce a CH video for sometime now, finally I have the resources to not only produce this video but also a means to have it broadcast. But I will need YOUR help. I need to get in touch with anyone who would want to donate some time to talk on camera about your experience with CH’s. Please e-mail me if you are interested or if you know of anyone who would be interested. Here’s a basic plan for the video:

1) Get interviews from sufferers – we will tell of the relentless pain, how we deal with it and what it has done to our lives.
2) Talk with spouses/significant others/siblings on how it effects their lives – how they try to console the sufferer and how they cope themselves with the stress and helplessness.
3) Talk with employers of sufferers – how does our illness effect their business/company? How many working hours are lost to Cluster Headaches? What have they done/can they do to accommodate the sufferer?
4) Interview a neurologist on the medical aspect-drugs available, side effects, techniques used to alleviate the pain, triggers (alcohol/smoking, etc) Effects of light and sound, etc.

My goal obviously is the same as yours – to get the word out in hopes of getting more funding for research to find a cure and perhaps getting our disease on the “Disabilities Act” list to give us more support in the work place. I feel putting an emphasis on number 3 is important – Let’s make employers aware of the lost hours and direct effect on their business and hopefully make them realize that we have no control over the disease and are incapacitated by the bouts. We will hit the viewer with stories from the heart…and wallet.
I see this as being a 60 minute program. I can guarantee that it will be aired on this station. We reach over 50,000 viewers. Our station is owned by Seattle based Ackerley Communications. They own about 15 television stations across the U.S. including Alaska. I will push that the program be aired on ALL Ackerley stations. Furthermore we are an NBC affiliate and I plan to solicit the program to ALL of the NBC affiliates across the country. Finally, once a program has been produced, I will also try to get it on PBS, The Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel. Once we have accomplished all that, then we can pursue getting airtime on Oprah, 60 Minutes, etc. It will be easier to get spots on National talk/news shows with a product in hand – something they can refer to. Sound good? In addition, I can cut chunks out of the video to produce 30 or 60 second PSAs

I am ready to go pretty much at any time. All I need is to get some folks to talk on camera. Can you steer me towards some people in the Upstate New York area or Northern Pennsylvania (or from anywhere- if they can come on their own) who would want to talk for the cause?
How long will it take? It’s hard to say – it really depends on how many interviews I can set up and when. Hopefully within 3 to 4 months at the most. Also, if you have any video or pictures of the conventions I could work those in as well.

This project will be shot on Betacam format and mastered on the Media 100 digital editing suite. Copies and transcripts will be made available to interested parties (unfortunately a charge will have to be attached to the video to cover the cost of the tape and shipping/TBA).

My e-mail address is any information would be greatly appreciated.

-Aki Peterson
Producer - WETM-TV, Elmira, NY

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