A Northampton singer-songwriter who underwent life-threatening surgery for a brain tumour is releasing an EP a year on from his diagnosis.
When Harry Mockett, 20, from Harpole, was diagnosed with a craniopharyngioma in May 2018, he feared his illness would put an end to his music career.
Harry’s tumour caused irreversible damage to his pituitary gland and, after contracting meningitis from the surgery he needed to save his life, his family were told that he had a 50/50 chance of surviving.
A year on from the terrifying ordeal, Harry has defied the odds and released his latest EP ‘H.I.M.’ on 14 June. ‘H.I.M.’ has been selected as part of the BBC Introducing playlist and Harry is also planning to go on tour later in the year.
Harry said: “In May 2018 I noticed things weren’t quite right as I was struggling to focus watching TV. I was prescribed a pair of glasses which didn’t seem to help and was referred to Northampton General Hospital, where an MRI scan revealed my tumour.
“Any further growth of my tumour could have left me blind or even killed me, so I was taken by ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to have emergency surgery the next day. After the procedure, however, I contracted bacterial meningitis and hydrocephalus – a build-up of fluid on the brain.
“Over the next seven weeks, I had several operations to treat the complications of my surgery, and then I had two months of proton beam therapy in Essen, Germany. After the treatment had finished, I was thrilled to hear that all of the remaining tumour cells had been removed. Gradually, I felt stronger and it was a relief to my friends and family when I started playing the guitar again."
Harry says that music began to give him purpose again following his recovery and he started to focus on recording new material.
“While my brain tumour diagnosis has been the biggest challenge imaginable, music has been a driving force of positivity and has really given me something to look forward to and focus on when times were tough," he added.
Harry says he is now dedicated to raising awareness of brain tumours by suppporting the charity Brain Tumour Research.
The disease can affect anyone at any age and kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. Historically, only 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to the disease.
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence in the UK; it also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.
The charity is calling for an annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.
Paula Rastrick, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in the Central region, said: “Harry is a remarkable young man who, despite going through so much, remains positive in his outlook. We thank him for helping us to raise awareness and we wish him every success for the release of his EP.”
To donate to Brain Tumour Research go to https://www.braintumourresearch.org/donation