Beyond the C

Making Music to Combat Cancer

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About Beyond the C

Since being a young child, music has played a significant role in my life; from the church to starting teenage bands. In my early twenties I moved from Scotland to London in the hope of "making it" but family life kicked in and meant leaving London for Lincolnshire. Throughout my adult life, I've continued to gig - mainly playing guitar and singing, alongside writing and producing my own music - and have maintained an income from it alongisde my day job.

All of this suddenly felt threatened when I found out that I had cancer, specifically cancer in the tonsil. The enormity of this was hard to get my head around - appointments, scans, radiotherapy, chemotherapy - what did it mean for me, my family, my music? I had an intense course of radio and chemotherapy, with no guarantee that my vocal chords would survive unscathed.

My relationship with music helped to give me focus and an escape during some of the most difficult times whilst enduring treatment. We all know that people go to gigs to have a good time but seeing people close up, fighting to keep going, smiling and being able to forget their surroundings for a few moments was profound. These experiences alongside my perspective since having cancer has given me the passion to help / work with / support others like me, creating something positive for all involved at a changing point in their lives.

Two years after being told the cancer had been treated, I am back in work, playing music, enjoying life with family and friends and slowly regaining my confidence - currently writing the soundtrack to a French pantomime! The physical side effects are continuously changing and improving now but the mental health effects still ripple close to the surface. Being able to share with others is known as a positive step in any recovery process; for me, sharing through music and creativity is what works best.

I would like to establish and coordinate an online network for people (patients, family members, carers of those living with cancer) to offer them a social, creative outlet. Online sessions would be coordinated offering the space to explore peoples' talents and link up with others, with the hope that individual projects would develop from here. Due to the nature of cancer treatment and the physical locations of this and peoples' homes, interested individuals would be supported to get involved online rather than creating a physical forum which may not be possible to suit everyone's needs.

This group will also enable members to publish and act as an outlet for their own material showcasing that even after treatment we can still pursue a path we feel passionately about all be it in some cases in a new direction.

As a cancer survivor, I feel I can empathise with both those diagnosed and their families/carers and would like the opportunity to create an encouraging and supportive environment led by those participating. My musical career has allowed me to work with people from all walks of life, all genres of music and many different approaches to creating music. I am flexible and although not classicaly trained I feel comfortable working with different levels of ability and ensuring that people get the best out of their time working together.

Helping others to regain their confidence, self-worth and value in their creativity is extremely important to me, having experienced the loss of these through cancer. Delivering this project would support both those who get involved in the idea as well as me in furthering my recovery.

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