I was sitting with my trainer in the office at the barn on Friday when I got a phone call from my mom. She had just gotten off the phone with our local newscaster who was asking for an interview for the #OliviaMeetsJimmy campaign. I, of course, thought they wanted to set up a time for next week. They wanted to come right now and the newscaster would be arriving in 20 minutes. I practically dropped the phone when I hung up. When I told my trainer what was about to happen she immediately called her husband, who is also my trainer, to tell him to get over to the barn and help.
I looked down at my outfit and quickly realized that my neon colored sweatshirt would not be the best option for the camera. My hair already draws attention and the neon would not help. I called my mom and asked for a different sweatshirt. I went with Ulman blue. If you know that group you’ll understand the reference. Then we realized Joe would be on camera since they wanted to feature him in the story too. My trainers quickly trimmed his whiskers while he was hanging out in his stall. He was oblivious as to what was about to happen.
I figured that during my interview they might ask about any organizations that I had worked with in the cancer world. I made a phone call to a friend who is part of one of the organizations I was going to mention, just to make sure I said the correct things. He gave me the information I would need and was happy to have it mentioned in the interview. I also made a quick phone call to a family friend who I knew would want to be there in the action. I was very happy when she answered the phone and was willing to drop everything and come over to be part of the fun that was about to unfold.
When my mom arrived at the barn I quickly changed and got Joe out of his stall. Within seconds the newscaster arrived and wanted to begin filming while I was getting Joe ready. He wanted to capture me brushing Joe at all different angles. When he was filming near Joe’s face there were a couple times when Joe got very close to the camera. I was waiting for him to try and bite it thinking it was food.
After grooming and tacking up he wanted footage of me riding. After trotting around the ring a couple times he asked if I would go over a jump. Normally I would have said yes but I hadn’t jumped recently and I didn’t want to become an Internet sensation for falling off my horse while going over a jump. While I was walking out of the ring with Joe he wanted to get some “candid” shots of Joe and me. At this point Joe was more concerned with the hay that would be awaiting him in his stall for lunch. Luckily my trainer quickly grabbed some treats to distract him and help him pose.
Once I put Joe away, the newscaster wanted to do the interview segment. My mom and family friend helped me put on my Tonight Show hat. If we were going to get our point across, we were going to be bluntly obvious. I was asked the usual questions: what’s your age, where are you from, what kind of cancer do you have, when were you diagnosed, and so on. Then I was asked about the campaign and how it started. If you saw the interview I will save you all the details. The one part of the interview that was cut was when I talked extensively about the organizations we have worked with. I talked about the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults and ThinkBIG Pediatric Cancer Fund. I talked about both groups and what they do. I even made sure to say the names of the people from our area that are heavily involved in them. If you want more information on these organizations feel free to type them into a search engine or social media website. They also have been on Operation Olivia.
Later that day the story was aired on our local news at various times. The major comment I got from everyone was that my horse Joe looked great in the interview. I just hope his new found fame doesn’t go to his head. I went from flying under the radar to being on the news. The story has taken off on social media and was shared by several people. Thank you to everyone who is helping with the #OliviaMeetsJimmy campaign. It went from an idea being presented to me at my kitchen table to being part of a story on the news. It has grown into people posting pictures with the #OliviaMeetsJimmy campaign and now a smile challenge where people will challenge their friends to tell jokes. In case you were wondering this is my go to joke, “Why do seagulls fly over the ocean? Because if they flew over the bay they would be bagels!”