RED NEEDLE
Land & Sky Media with Sarah Gerrish

Ultra-runner Sarah lost an ovary to cancer at 15 and the second to a cyst at 36. Red Needle maps her road to recovery through surgical menopause, asking what she’s running from – and where she’s running to.

We caught up with Sarah to talk about her motivations and challenges plus the journey that lead to Red Needle being made.

Can you give a brief explanation of the events explored in Red Needle?

Red Needle takes you on a bit of a journey through my life really. From moving to the Lake District, experiencing Cancer at the age of 15, having my daughter, taking up running & then entering surgical menopause at 36.

Women’s health has historically been grossly overlooked and it makes me feel incredible sadness for the women before us who have had this life altering experience...It must have been unbelievably lonely
I did have some insecurity around whether anyone would be interested but I took a leap of faith.
Women’s health has historically been grossly overlooked and it makes me feel incredible sadness for the women before us who have had this life altering experience...It must have been unbelievably lonely

Why did you want to make the film? 

Personally, I love a story about the everyday experiences of “normal” people. From the wider perspective there are a lot of threads of my lived experience that will be relatable to people across the board and then other more unique elements that will hopefully serve to spark an interest in understanding something new to them. The language and knowledge around Menopause in general can be lacking, conflicting and also made light of, and its important to me to show that those effected are not the stereotype people may initially think of.

I did have some insecurity around whether anyone would be interested but I took a leap of faith.

Making the film was actually quite a cathartic process and I found myself joining some dots that I hadn’t quite appreciated before.

Talking about menopause and surgical menopause is somehow still taboo. Was it difficult to talk about your experiences? How do you feel about the process now?

I’m not sure if I am in a menopause bubble but the language does seem to be shifting. Women’s health has historically been grossly overlooked and it makes me feel incredible sadness for the women before us who have had this life altering experience, whether naturally or not, and felt they had to continue on as if nothing was happening. It must have been unbelievably lonely.

Making the film was actually quite a cathartic process and I found myself joining some dots that I hadn’t quite appreciated before. It gave me permission to take a step back and really consider what had happened which is easy to avoid with a busy day to day life. Through the whole process I felt really supported by Si & Dom and also heard, which was incredibly important for not only my comfort in opening up but also for the success of the end product. Right from the beginning I knew how sensitive they were to the topic and open to learning themselves. I did feel a sense of responsibility to be as honest as I could be. Menopause in any form is not just a women’s issue and having an emotionally aware team involved has really helped to elevate the film, I think.

Running definitely gave me a reason to recover physically. I used it as a tool to measure my progress and provide a focus to set goals for the future.

How has running affected your recovery, whether physically or emotionally? What’s next for you?

Running definitely gave me a reason to recover physically. I used it as a tool to measure my progress and provide a focus to set goals for the future. From a mental perspective; I do a lot of running by myself which can mean longs days out on the fells alone. Running can either provide that opportunity for respite from a racing mind and emotions or it can serve as my space to process thoughts & feelings.

At the moment I am unapologetically taking some down time and having a slow start to the year. I always have some plans up my sleave though so we shall see what materialises over the next few months.

Ultra-runner Sarah lost an ovary to cancer at 15 and the second to a cyst at 36. Red Needle maps her road to recovery through surgical menopause, asking what she’s running from – and where she’s running to.

We caught up with Sarah to talk about her motivations and challenges plus the journey that lead to Red Needle being made.

I did have some insecurity around whether anyone would be interested but I took a leap of faith.

Can you give a brief explanation of the events explored in Red Needle?

Red Needle takes you on a bit of a journey through my life really. From moving to the Lake District, experiencing Cancer at the age of 15, having my daughter, taking up running & then entering surgical menopause at 36.

Women’s health has historically been grossly overlooked and it makes me feel incredible sadness for the women before us who have had this life altering experience...It must have been unbelievably lonely

Why did you want to make the film? 

Personally, I love a story about the everyday experiences of “normal” people. From the wider perspective there are a lot of threads of my lived experience that will be relatable to people across the board and then other more unique elements that will hopefully serve to spark an interest in understanding something new to them. The language and knowledge around Menopause in general can be lacking, conflicting and also made light of, and its important to me to show that those effected are not the stereotype people may initially think of.

I did have some insecurity around whether anyone would be interested but I took a leap of faith.

Making the film was actually quite a cathartic process and I found myself joining some dots that I hadn’t quite appreciated before.

Talking about menopause and surgical menopause is somehow still taboo. Was it difficult to talk about your experiences? How do you feel about the process now?

I’m not sure if I am in a menopause bubble but the language does seem to be shifting. Women’s health has historically been grossly overlooked and it makes me feel incredible sadness for the women before us who have had this life altering experience, whether naturally or not, and felt they had to continue on as if nothing was happening. It must have been unbelievably lonely.

Making the film was actually quite a cathartic process and I found myself joining some dots that I hadn’t quite appreciated before. It gave me permission to take a step back and really consider what had happened which is easy to avoid with a busy day to day life. Through the whole process I felt really supported by Si & Dom and also heard, which was incredibly important for not only my comfort in opening up but also for the success of the end product. Right from the beginning I knew how sensitive they were to the topic and open to learning themselves. I did feel a sense of responsibility to be as honest as I could be. Menopause in any form is not just a women’s issue and having an emotionally aware team involved has really helped to elevate the film, I think.

Running definitely gave me a reason to recover physically. I used it as a tool to measure my progress and provide a focus to set goals for the future.

How has running affected your recovery, whether physically or emotionally? What’s next for you?

Running definitely gave me a reason to recover physically. I used it as a tool to measure my progress and provide a focus to set goals for the future. From a mental perspective; I do a lot of running by myself which can mean longs days out on the fells alone. Running can either provide that opportunity for respite from a racing mind and emotions or it can serve as my space to process thoughts & feelings.

At the moment I am unapologetically taking some down time and having a slow start to the year. I always have some plans up my sleave though so we shall see what materialises over the next few months.

Sarah Gerrish is an Architect, fell runner & founder of the Wonderful Wild Women Community based in Cumbria. Passionate about integrating time outdoors into your everyday life and enabling the growth of authentic relationships within outdoor environments, Sarah coordinates opportunities for people to come together through the WWW Community. Set up by Dom Bush in 2011, Land and Sky Media is a multi award winning production company based in the Lake District. The team specialise in character-led storytelling and work for the outdoor and environmental industries, with films screened at festivals around the world. Dom Bush and Simon Sylvester have worked together on creative projects for the past 8 years.
Sarah Gerrish is an Architect, fell runner & founder of the Wonderful Wild Women Community based in Cumbria. Passionate about integrating time outdoors into your everyday life and enabling the growth of authentic relationships within outdoor environments, Sarah coordinates opportunities for people to come together through the WWW Community. Set up by Dom Bush in 2011, Land and Sky Media is a multi award winning production company based in the Lake District. The team specialise in character-led storytelling and work for the outdoor and environmental industries, with films screened at festivals around the world. Dom Bush and Simon Sylvester have worked together on creative projects for the past 8 years.

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