A group of patients from the teenage and young adult unit at The Christie, have recorded a song about their experiences of cancer, at the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London.
Written in the dedicated music room in the specialist cancer hospital, the song ‘We Keep on Going’ voices the group of five young patients mutual feelings of fear, anguish, determination and hope that they face on a daily basis with the disease.
Funded by The Christie charity, the music room is equipped with a full range of instruments such as keyboards, drums and guitars that patients on the bespoke teenage and young adult unit, can learn how to play with the support of two music tutors. Patients can also take music exams and get one to one support with their singing.
Music tutor, Stephanie Furness, said: “We were extremely lucky to have the support of The Christie charity to fund this project. We have been working with the group since November on the track and they are all talented musicians. To be able to make their musical dreams a reality at Abbey Road at such a difficult time for them, is something very special.”
Lindsay Stead, 25 from High Peak in Derbyshire, is one of two vocalists on the recording. Lindsay was referred to The Christie when she was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in her leg in 2016. After surgery and intensive radiotherapy, routine scans showed another tumour had appeared on one of her lungs. Lindsay then developed yet another tumour on her leg, which meant the only option available, was amputation.
Lindsay said: “I underwent surgery to remove the tumour on my lung and intensive chemotherapy that made me consistently unwell. I then started to get pain in my leg again and I somehow knew what was ahead. I had fallen out of love with my leg by this point so the thought of amputation was a kind of relief.
“Music is my stress reliever, so the Abbey road trip couldn’t have come at a better time. I had just passed my grade 3 piano exam after learning to play at The Christie, so to see where the Beatles had performed and to play the pianos great musicians have played was unbelievable. It has really inspired me to continue with my music.”
Lindsay had surgery to amputate her leg three days after returning from Abbey Road.
She concluded: “My leg is improving slowly and my recent scans have been clear so I’m feeling good. I also sing a lot at The Christie with Stephanie and have tried to work on my confidence levels.
“I hope people will enjoy listening to our track and be encouraged to donate to The Christie charity, so it can provide more services and support for patients like me.”
Sophie Vohra, 26 from Macclesfield, is the other lead vocalist. Sophie, who is a PhD student in York, started her treatment at The Christie in April 2015, after being diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer at the bottom of her spine. After completing chemotherapy treatment, Sophie’s consultant put her forward for proton beam therapy in America, as her tumour was inoperable.
Sophie said: “The Christie has provided me with the best opportunities to try and beat this horrible disease. I am now disease free and able to get on with my life and complete my PhD.
“No one should ever have to go through a life-threatening illness like cancer, but places like The Christie with facilities for young patients like the music room, mean that we can not only get through our treatment, but can also continue to have as fulfilling and happy a time as we can. The trip to Abbey Road was incredible and I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity.”
The group has chosen World Cancer Day, 4th February 2018, to make the song available for members of the public to listen to. You can listen to ‘We Keep on Going’ by following this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TE_JFF8delo and if you’d like to make a donation to The Christie charity to help more patients like Lindsay and Sophie, please follow https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abbeyrd.
The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust through its fundraising activities, and delivers projects, equipment and improvements that are over and above what the NHS funds. The charity has more than 50,000 supporters who helped raise £14.4m last year.
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has been ranked ‘Outstanding’ by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which referred to it as ‘exceptional’ and ‘a leader in its field’. It not only commended the Trust for its effectiveness and care, but highlighted its work in shaping the future of cancer care and noted the reach and influence of its clinical research projects. The CQC also rated The Christie the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.