JOANNE O'RIORDAN: Film reels in the 17 years of my life

Joanne O'Riordan: You believed in my ability and you looked beyond my disability

SEVENTEEN years ago, a strange thing happened — I was born. Why is this strange? I was born with no limbs. I was only one of seven known people in the world living with the medical condition known as a total [or tetra] Amelia. It was the story to beat all stories.

I have been very lucky. All of this is down to you, the people of Ireland.

You believed in my ability, and you looked beyond my disability, enabling me and my family to do our best in a way that might not have been possible, otherwise. For that, I want to say thank you, because, over the past two years, my brother has made a documentary about me and how I have lived, and I’m glad to say that we will get to share this story with the world from Oct 6, at the Cork Opera House, when it has its world premiere.

No Limbs, No Limits is the title and while I have not seen the final product, I’m excited that people will finally get to see the real me.

Who would have guessed, 17 years ago, this baby would grow up to do and achieve so much, in such a short space of time?

Well, as I say, I have you, the people of Ireland, to thank for that and I hope you can come along to the world premiere in Cork and see what has been achieved.

We filmed in New York, Dublin, Cork, the United Kingdom, and many other places besides. My brother says it is a story of triumph over adversity, and while there are many emotional parts in the documentary, the overall message is positive.

I hope that this story will, once again, inspire a nation, but, more importantly, I wanted to use this opportunity, before the launch, to say thank you for all your support, goodwill and messages of kindness over the years.

What was achieved with the Joanne O’Riordan Fund, from 1997-98, was unbelievable.

It is something of which we can all be proud and, by the way, for anyone wanting to come to the documentary premiere, you can ring the Cork Opera House on 021-4270022, or, if you prefer online, go to the Cork Opera House website, www.corkoperahouse.ie

I hope to see everyone there, as it is my dream that we get a sell-out show.

Plus, when the documentary gets big, you can look back and say, like you did 17 years ago, ‘go n-eiri an t-adh libh.’


Lifestyle

We catch up with Bushmills’ master distiller, who tells Sam Wylie-Harris more about this liquid gold.Irish whiskey masterclass: 11 things you need to know

Temples, beaches, and several nations with new names.From Bhutan to Costa Rica, Lonely Planet reveals its top countries to visit in 2020

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance to a woman who’s unsure how to manage her mother’s dying wishes.Ask a counsellor: ‘Is it appropriate to notify my mother’s friends of her death by email?’

‘The Big Yin’ talks to Luke Rix-Standing about living with Parkinson’s, the power of forgiveness, and why he will never, ever stop swearing.Billy Connolly: ‘You don’t wake up famous, you wake up scratching yourself like everybody else’

More From The Irish Examiner