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Norwich: Arianne Foley defies Behcets to make music return

Arianne Foley, who lives in the city centre, was diagnosed with Behcets in 2020, which causes her severe pain and extreme fatigue.

The 29-year-old, originally from Cwmbran in South Wales, had been a musician in her home country from the age of 16 and studied songwriting at university, where she performed a gig almost every night.

Norwich Evening News: Arianne Foley who is one of less than 2,000 people in the UK with a rare autoimmune condition Arianne Foley who is one of less than 2,000 people in the UK with a rare autoimmune condition (Image: Arianne Foley)

She had even been invited to perform in Tenerife and Corfu at residencies and weddings, but while performing in Gran Canaria in December 2016 she began to feel extreme tiredness and fatigue so returned to the UK.

After having her son Isaac, now aged seven, and graduating along with the added complications of her worsening symptoms Ms Foley gave up on music and shortly after a blood test confirmed she had an autoimmune disease but did not confirm which one.

Ms Foley said: “Music was a huge thing for me, I loved gigging and always wanted to do something with it.

“I was sad I had to take a break, but I wanted to make sure I was present in my son’s life.”

Several blood tests were unable to confirm which type of condition Ms Foley was battling, but thankfully her doctor was able to pick up on it straight away after she had been reading a book about Behcets when she visited in 2020 with severe symptoms.

Norwich Evening News: Ms Foley performing her first gig aged 16Ms Foley performing her first gig aged 16

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Ms Foley’s doctor immediately sent her for treatment, where it was found she was allergic to the medication she had been taking since she discovered she had an autoimmune disease.

Her symptoms have now improved thanks to a new injection pen, however, she is still finding herself in intense pain.

In October, Ms Foley was reading the book Daisy Jones and the Six and became inspired by the title character’s battle to get the band’s first album recorded and released, deciding to follow in the fictional band’s footsteps and plunge back into music.

Now almost a year later she has recorded her album with the help of a Norwich band and released her first song last week.

Norwich Evening News: Ms Foley performing in 2014 before she was diagnosed with her conditionMs Foley performing in 2014 before she was diagnosed with her condition (Image: Arianne Foley)

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She said: “I read the book and I found it deeply inspiring, but the imposter syndrome was really getting to me and I didn’t think I had what it takes.

“I wanted to create something my son and I could look back on and be proud of.

“It all happened for me when I walked past the band the High Points who were playing outside Primark and they were brilliant, so I asked if they’d collaborate and initially they said no.

“I asked them if they’d listen and maybe give me some advice so I sent some tracks and when they heard them they wanted to collaborate.

Norwich Evening News: Ms Foley performing at the Waterfront after her return to musicMs Foley performing at the Waterfront after her return to music (Image: Arianne Foley)

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“The whole process of recording took much longer than it usually would because I’ve still been battling the disease with mild chemotherapy so I’ve had to cancel rehearsals and studio days.

“But now we’ve got the album together and the band are on six tracks with some other local musicians on the others.

“The last year was a whirlwind but I just have to thank my partner Stevie White, he’s been an amazing stepdad to my son Isaac and has given me the space to record and recover.”

Ms Foley has already seen her new single played on BBC Introducing South Wales and Norfolk and Suffolk, with the song amassing over 4,000 Spotify listens.

She is planning to release her album in October and will be gigging around Norwich in September in preparation for its release.


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