Karola holding shoes

In 2019, I’m taking a new show to the Edinburgh Festival, working title, ‘Cortisone Acetate’. It’ll be a blend of laughter and tears and will recount the story of how a young doctor saved my late’s mum life in hospital in the 50s.

My mum had only come over from Poland to England to be reunited with her father, who had been in a Russian gulag during the War and was presumed dead. She’s survived being at a different gulag in Siberia and only heard her father was still alive because of the International Tracing Service run by the Red Cross.

What was meant to be a two week holiday turned into something completely different. As if mum hadn’t been through enough, she was struck down with Addison’s disease, only doctors didn’t realise that, and my started slipping away rapidly.

It was thanks to the persistence of a young doctor who was convinced mum had Addison’s and needed the then new wonderdrug, cortisone, that mum made it. He’d read an article in the Lancet magazine and that is how he knew about it. What’s possibly more amazing is the timing of when it happened. Had mum been in Poland, she wouldn’t have survived as at the time, cortisone was only available in America and the UK.

The show shows the twists and turns of life, and how sometimes, we are only here because someone else has spoken up and intervened.