Chris Kamara Discusses Apraxia Speech Condition On This Morning

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Ohh and Chris joins us now alongside his very good friend Ben Shepherd. It’s so lovely to see you both morning and thank you for coming on and sharing this story.

No.

It’s interesting just looking at that, how much work you’re actually trying to work on it, but you sound great today.

Yeah, today’s a good day.

To take us back a little bit and tell us when you first realized something wasn’t quite right.

Well, it was in 2019, would you believe? But I told no one. You know, when you you know something’s not quite right. You know, and so I became insular. I saw talking in sound bites, and I knew if I spoke over long sentences, I couldn’t get the words out or they’d come out wrong. So I thought, you know, I’m gonna wake up one day and it’s all gone, you know, that’s how it is. And then I eventually went to see my doctor in 2020. And he sent me for some tests and it was found out either under active thyroid, so grey all my. Birthdays in one day, you know.

So they can treat that, yeah.

Just to get the diagnosis as well, that’s a nice feeling.

Yeah, the level thyroxine and sorted. Anyway, that didn’t. It cured my thyroid, although I don’t have one. No. Nowadays I live off level thyroxine and that’s all down to the fact that I didn’t go to see the doctor when I got the symptoms.

You lie.

Yeah.

You it could have been rectified if you had gone to.

Cigna, yeah. Wow. Could have been. Yeah. The thyroid issue. And then the speech issue came along and it could be the thyroid that’s brought on the neurological apraxia of speech. But we don’t know, you know, I think we’re done.

With this, just to explain to us what exactly is apraxia?

Well, we take. For granted, when we speak, it’s natural. But the message from the brain to the mouth somehow gets confused and the words come out wrong, or they come out slow, or they don’t come out at all and it’s.

I must be so frightening.

Yeah, well, my voice was my life, you know, so that was hard, hard to accept, and that’s why I kept it. Quiet our thoughts, you know, there’s no way I can tell it everybody. So I continue doing programs and all of a sudden people are tweeting me or asking my friends, is he OK? Something wrong with him? Is he drunk? He’s slurring his words, he sounds slow. And that’s eventually where my good mate here got me to spell the beans on GMB.

Well, let’s talk about that. To did Chris get in touch with you?

We had been talking for a long time about what was going on and the thyroid issue was a big issue. And when he got the diagnosis with an underwater thyroid, we were all thrilled because you were saying, you know, he was the he was. The questions were why am I slurring? Why do I sound like I might be drunk? And we thought that might be it, but it became a bigger thing than that. When eventually cause it, it helped initially, but then but then it didn’t. In the documentary interesting, one of your kids turns around and Sammy Cammy saying you went quiet. Is it Jack who turns around and says, yeah, we just thought Dad was really tired. He stopped talking very much. We know he works all the time, so the family were noticing. We were starting to notice as friends and colleagues and then eventually he got the diagnosis of the apraxia and we were launching Ninja Warrior. Cami was coming on good morning Britain to launch Ninja and we just had to have a conversation about him being willing to share that with people because lots of people were asking the question and how we were going to do it. So we had a long conversation, didn’t we, about how we were going to do it on the program the next day. He was naturally very concerned because. What can he doesn’t. He doesn’t feel the victim. He doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him. You know, he’s.

Helped so many other people who have questioned this year, or maybe in the same boat, not telling anybody. Yeah, and not saying anything.

I realise that now. Yeah. You know, thanks to Ben, my agent, Simon Dent, was approached by three or four production companies saying can we do a documentary on your apraxia of speech? And I said no, no, no. And then Ben said, look, you know, why not, you know? Come out and talk and I said, look, I don’t wanna be the victim. Yeah. He said, yeah, but, you know, I’d like to raise awareness. So he said, yeah, I’ll help you raise awareness, but also it is about you. So we’re gonna have to show a lot about you. But my biggest thing is 5% of all children are impacted by speech and language problems and. They’re let down by the system, you know, they don’t get speech and language therapy. They don’t get any.

Help. There’s barely any provision for them, is there? If they get an appointment, it takes months to come through, then they’ll get one appointment and they can have some intensive speech therapy, but then they have to wait months for the second one. And of course, getting it early, particularly with children, is hugely important, hugely, hugely important. And there is very little, if any, provision now. And that’s what you know can we trusted my production company to help make this documentary. Huge privilege for us. But also he knows he can tell me if he doesn’t want to do something. You know, Cami, Cami will say yes, he says yes to everything. He will say yes to any producers. Want me to do this, want me to do that. But of course he wouldn’t say that to me. So the concern he had with other companies, he felt like he could trust us. You.

Are his mate and the fact that you’re making it, say architect that bit out. I don’t like that, yeah.

Yeah, amazing. It’s been incredible.

What’s so heartening as well is that I know you’ve taken a step back from soccer Saturday and we all know that, you know, I know Jeff is a dear friend of yours who’s very emotional when he did. But you’re still you’re you’re working more than ever now like it’s it’s so wonderful that they’re that an industry has supported you and and you know and.

It’s been.

Incredible rallied round.

They support from outside the people outside BBC ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 have been absolutely.

Because she sounds.

Credible you’re.

So lovely, Allison, that is one of the most important things about this is that Cami was really concerned about how it was going to be received. And I said I think you just need to put it out there and see what happens, yeah. And it’s been overwhelming because I couldn’t go anywhere. Jeff says in the documentary. You literally can’t go anywhere without someone saying, how’s Cami? Yeah. Hey, Ben, what’s going on with Cami? He is a national treasure. Yeah. Going out with Cami is like going out with Justin Bieber. It’s a nightmare. You can’t go anywhere with people stopping in for photographs, for pictures, and they all just wanna say it. And that’s been really lovely for him to see that warmth and spirit because that gives you the energy to go, right. I’m gonna use this platform now. Aren’t.

You. Yeah, absolutely. Stroke victims, people who’ve been in. Accident people are just acquire it like me. Now where’s the help from the system? There isn’t any, you know?

Cammy. So whereabouts are we at the moment? I know I was reading my notes is that you’re sort of almost 60% back, so you’re wearing an ankle tag that puts Mitra currents through your leg and that.

Helped my asbo, yeah.

That a true story came here your day.

Release.

Yeah.

What you been up to?

Are you sure that’s not attack?

We all know the restraining order take.

Place here mate.

Just.

Let it out. What are you doing?

So that produces microcurrent that hopefully go to my brain and spark it into action. Hyperbaric oxygen tent. You know, we hope the blood and the clear air can help in any way, shape or form. I do Zing performance exercises, which is because the part of my brain that’s switched off affects your muscles. And, you know, balance as well, so.

You do that with your granddaughter. Danny loves doing that with you.

Try and get.

Stimulated. You’re throwing everything at it. I mean, that’s the point. Anything in it? Everything you can. Fortunately, Cam is in a position where he can do these things as well. And the problem is that not everybody going through this has that. Yeah, has that opportunity because they can’t afford it or they don’t get offered the chance to go and try it. And that’s the most important thing. And I think it’s for me, and we’ve talked about this a lot for Cami right now, the most important part of what he’s doing is trying to help. People out there that don’t have a voice that potentially could benefit from anybody could be watching, cause after you came on GMB you got inundated didn’t you, with people saying.

Yeah, the.

Doctors and support.

Was incredible, you know, absolutely amazing. And can I thank everybody out there for the best wishes that they’ve sent me.

Yeah. Thanks for telling us. So lovely. Thanks for coming on the character, both of you.

Yeah, it’s.

Been a.

Privilege, we can’t wait for that documentary. Lost for words. Wednesday The 14th of December, 9:00 PM ITV not to be.

And it’s and the and just remember, it’s all as difficult as it is and it is really emotional. When we watched it together first time, we were both in floods of tears. I was just scared about what was gonna say. But it’s full of hope and optimism and positivity. Yeah. And that’s what one people to take from isn’t.

It there’s some fun in it as well, so you know, you will hopefully enjoy it, yeah.

Thanks. Thank.

You thanks. Yep, lovely to see you.

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