BBC Radio 4 appeal

Catherine Jessop

BBC Radio Four has chosen Encephalitis International to be featured on its 2021 charity appeal on Boxing Day and the 30th December. Find out more – and hear from our presenter, author Catherine Jessop.

We will be broadcast live on:

  • Sunday, 26th December: 7.54am and 9.45pm
  • Thursday, 30th December: 3.27pm

Listen to the BBC Appeal (available from the 26th December): Listen Now


The BBC Radio 4 appeal will be presented by author Catherine Jessop who will be talking about her own family’s experiences of encephalitis.

Catherine’ husband, Alan, fell ill with encephalitis on Boxing Day 2016 and this experience, together with the months spent in hospital during Alan’s treatment and recovery, led her to write Pulling Through: Help for Families Navigating Life-Changing Illness.

“I was both honoured and humbled to be asked to represent Encephalitis International on the BBC Radio 4 charity appeal,” said Catherine.

“I had never heard of encephalitis before Alan was ill, but I know now that raising awareness of this awful illness is a vital part of both getting an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Millions of people listen to Radio 4 and we can reach many millions more via social media, so I am genuinely delighted to be able to help spread the word. And of course, I hope that the appeal will raise much needed funds for Encephalitis International!”

She added: “I really want to get across to the listeners just how devastating the impact of encephalitis can be, not just for the person who gets it, but also for their family and friends. To be featured on Boxing Day is extremely poignant for me and my family as it will be five years exactly to the day (in fact almost to the minute) that Alan first became ill.

“Please do tune in, tell your friends to tune in, and let’s really try and mobilize support for Encephalitis International during the festive period. The Appeal is just three minutes long but you will also be able to listen to it on the BBC iPlayer from Boxing Day onwards.”

Encephalitis International’s BBC Radio 4 appeal will be broadcast on Sunday, 26th December, at 7.54am and 9.30pm and on Thursday, 30th December, at 3.27pm.

About Catherine Jessop

Earlier this year, Catherine joined Dr Ava Easton and the Encephalitis Podcast to talk about her book, Pulling Through: Help for Families Navigating Life-Changing Illness.

On Boxing Day 2016, Catherine’s husband, Alan, had his first devastating seizure as a result of encephalitis, thrusting the Jessop family into an unknown world.

In Pulling Through, she shares advice and inspiration on everything she has learned, with chapters clarifying medical terms and explaining tests and scans as well as explaining some of the financial and legal issues around illness.

Catherine also focuses on the emotional side of having a relative with a brain injury and how it affects the whole family, sharing her own thoughts on how to look after the mental health of both patient and carer and the power of nature, humour, music and optimism.

Pulling Through: Help for Families Navigating Life-Changing Illness is available to order from Amazon and all good bookshops.

Page Created: 8 December 2023
Last Modified: 12 December 2023
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