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Mike hopes music hall tracks will aid fundraising for myeloma sufferers

PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 September 2019

Highgate Literature and Scientific Institution. Picture: Ken Mears

Highgate Literature and Scientific Institution. Picture: Ken Mears

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A Muswell Hill myeloma sufferer will be bringing the sounds of the Victorian music hall to Highgate next week, to raise money for the charity that helped him when he was diagnosed.

Mike FrancisMike Francis

Mike Francis was diagnosed with the blood cancer five years ago after breaking two small bones in the base of his back.

He went to the Whittington Hospital to be treated and had two weeks of tests during which the condition was picked up. He'd had no symptoms.

"There are new drugs coming on the market to deal with it," he said. "That needs money and we are hoping to raise a decent amount of cash for it."

Six months after being diagnosed, Mike, 75, had stem cell treatment and a round of chemotherapy.

Before the stem cell treatment Myeloma UK put Mike in touch with somebody who had already had the treatment, which helped him make up his mind.

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"It gave me the confidence to do it. I wanted to know what was involved in it. He was around to say there was nothing to worry about and it gave me the confidence to go through with it. I am glad he did."

He also says the charity has given him an "invaluable" service, especially providing support when there are moments of uncertainty with the illness.

Some 17,500 people are living with myeloma in the UK, and it mainly affects those over the age of 65.

It occurs when the DNA of a plasma cell is damaged during its development. While there are treatments available to control the disease, it is ultimately incurable.

Mike said: "It is invaluable. You don't have to wait to see a doctor. You can pick up the phone to someone to get a sympathetic voice and information to any query you have got. I am forever in their debt."

The retiree sings, does spoken word performances and chairs performances of the Lissenden Players, who specialise in the Victorian era music hall songs. They frequently appear at the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution.

He said: "They're old fashioned songs from 1890 to 1940, like Give My Regards to Leicester Square. I've been performing and interested in it for 40 years."

Mike performs with the Lissenden Players on Wednesday at the HLSI in Pond Square from 8pm. Tickets will be on sale at the door for £6.

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