Music legend and neck cancer survivor Billy Mitchell is swapping his guitar strings for abseiling ropes as he drops down the side of one of the highest buildings on Tyneside.
The ex Lindisfarne frontman will be abseiling from the top of The Baltic to raise much needed funds and gain public awareness for the Northern Head and Neck Cancer Fund (HANC).
The charitable fund, founded by newly awarded BEM recipient, Evelyn Weightman from Corbridge aims to make life better for those diagnosed with head and neck cancer and raise awareness of the disease.
The fund helps to raise awareness of the cancer to enable faster detection and early stage treatment. It also sponsors annual conferences to help get the most up to date information and research out quickly to those who need it.
Eight years ago, Billy was diagnosed with the disease but thanks to early detection and the work of specialised health professionals he has now been given a clean bill of health.
“This is a frightening disease to have and the more people that are aware of the symptoms, the more lives will be saved,” said Billy.
“Experts are now saying that it is no longer mainly associated with drinking or smoking excessively and sadly more young people are affected by it. It is anticipated that in the next 10 years, it will become the 5th largest type of cancer. If my jumping off a very high and scary building saves just one life then it will be worth it. The best thing is that the consultants and surgeons that helped me and other survivors are up there with me doing it too.”
Evelyn who is also taking part in the abseil agreed, “ Information is essential to combat this disease. We have two conferences each year – one for health care professionals, dentists, oral technicians etc. and one for those people who have been personally affected by the cancer. The fund raising abseil will help to pay towards those conferences so that we can get the most up to date information out to where it is most needed.”
The dare devil abseil will take place on Saturday 9th July between 4pm and 7.30pm. Afterwards, a private ticketed event will take place within an area of The Baltic where canapés will be served and Billy will play some of the songs from Lindisfarne that have made the band Tyneside legends.
Anyone wishing to donate to the abseilers can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/northernheadneckcancerfund