Through some of my friends that are more familiar with the inner workings of the media we understand that the natural evolution of a popular story is that it starts at print (such as a newspaper article), then it migrates to the radio channel/s and from there the really great stories move unto the TV screens. So the story of The Angel Gown Initiative was on the track of a natural evolutionary process, what was surprising to my friends that knows the media process is the rate of evolution TAGI was going through. It went from online print to physical print to radio to TV within 3 consecutive days.
If you followed our media blogs or page you’ll know that TAGI started in the media on 15 October 2017 – with 15 October being the International day for Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness. The following day (16 October 2017) it was printed in newspapers across South Africa, the following day (17 October 2017) we made it unto our first radio station and this was also our first contact with the TV side of the media.
Danie Hefers from SABC2 Fokus contacted us via email to express his potential interest in doing a segment on The Angel Gown Initiative. When I phoned him I had just caught him in between meetings, we talked a little bit and again he expressed an interest but made sure I knew it wasn’t a commitment on his part, which I totally understood, a story in the media can look much different from reality, but oh wow! To just be considered for a segment on TV was already such an amazing feeling!!
The following day Danie came over to our studio for a casual meet and greet, as per my usual bubbly self I told him with passion about what we are doing and before I got to show him samples he said he could see I love my initiative and I will do well on camera – in that sentence he confirmed it and I knew he was going to do a segment on TAGI. And Danie does not play around, the next day he was back and did his shoot.
It was an absolute pleasure working with Danie, he knew how to work with me and put me at ease for the camera, the two hours we spent together just flew by in laughter and story telling. And the final piece was absolutely moving, stirring emotions and perfectly captured the essence of The Angel Gown Initiative.
Before the segment aired on TV he did lots of efforts to promote the story and building up to the airing date in little teaser posts on Facebook, a teaser was also sent to the Gauteng. It did not stop there though, it was also advertised on TV and I remember one evening before the story aired an acquaintance took her phone, captured the advertisement on the TV with her camera phone and sent it to me via WhatsApp… I couldn’t stop laughing at the whole scenario but I also felt so proud.
On the evening of 12 November 2017 the story finally aired on TV and 2 hours after it aired I eventually had to switch off my phone so that I could try and sit down to eat my dinner… again, like the first time TAGI hit the media, it was chaos. Phone calls, SMS’s, WhatsApp messages, emails and Facebook messages were going wild. This time random strangers started sending friend requests on Facebook and less than 30 minutes after the story aired donations were pledged nationwide.
If ever I had any doubts before this point if I can or should walk away from TAGI, it was no longer a possibility – TAGI was to be a permanent part of my life now, I was given a huge responsibility that I simply can not, and will not, walk away from or abandon. My “fame” level went up over night, with random strangers walking up to me in the street to congratulate me on the work we are doing, strangers approaching me in stores while I’m doing shopping to talk to me about TAGI – my life has not quite been the same after this but I’m not complaining, it is by far the best chapter in my life!
Thank you Danie Hefers and SABC2 Fokus for taking interest and helping us spread the word nationally – this segment resulted in national donations and drop-off points, pushing the evolution and growth of TAGI far further than we had planned or hoped for at that point in time.
Feel free to watch the segment in the video attach below and please share with everyone to help us help the families in this darkest of time.
Eric Elronde and the TAGI team.