BANDS who gigged in the Highlands over the last few decades are reforming for a special fundraising concert organised by a brave young woman who is battling an advanced form of ovarian cancer.
Michelle Campbell, who is only 34, is managing to arrange the event, Back for Good, in her home city of Inverness – despite struggling with the side effects of her first round of chemotherapy treatment.
She has so far lost her long blonde hair, and was even forced to quit her new job as a property manager – only five days after starting the post following her diagnosis of stage three ovarian cancer earlier this year.
Her future prognosis is still uncertain, but Michelle has already pledged to pay back those who have so far offered her, and her family, care and treatment.
She is organising the concert while recuperating from her treatment of chemotherapy. She will face future treatment.
Michelle said: “The doctors are unable to operate on the tumour at the moment, so I will have to undergo a second round of chemo.
“After that we don’t know what the future holds. The doctors will not give a long-term prognosis, and I don’t really want to know at the moment.
“So, while I recover from the first round of chemo, I have set my mind to organising this concert to give something back to those who have so far helped me.”
She hopes to raise money for Macmillan Highlands after crediting the nurses for her care and the Cancer General Fund at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
Bands from across the decades in Inverness, including Lush Rollers and Jetstar, will come together for the Back for Good gig at The Ironworks in December.
Doctors had initially been treating Michelle for irritable bowel syndrome when she felt unwell in January, but as the months went on she failed to get any better.
She said: “They kept saying to me it could not possibly be ovarian cancer because of my age and even when I went to hospital in April, I was told there was just a mass.
“I had to have an operation so they could identify what was going on, and within one hour of coming round I was told I had cancer.
“I had a feeling already, but I was in complete and utter shock though.”
It was originally hoped that chemotherapy would shrink the tumour which would then make it possible to operate.
But Michelle explained: “The doctors are uncertain what is going to happen at the moment and chemo is my only option. They are not able to remove the tumour through surgery.
“It is a day-at-a-time situation.
“It has been a nightmare and in my old life I would have been going to gigs at the weekend.
“That is where the idea of a concert came from, this feeling of nostalgia where old bands come back together and raise money for charity.
“From day one of my diagnosis the care has been phenomenal. I always wanted to give something back for that.”
Michelle’s illness has also been devastating for her family, particularly parents Joe and Isobel, also from Inverness.
But their strong-willed daughter said: “They feel powerless because they can’t cure me. People don’t know what to do. They want to help but don’t know how. But this event gives them something to get involved in and gives them something to help me with.
“They now feel they can do something for me. It is a good focus for all of us.”
Dad Joe said: “We are praying for a miracle and so many people are praying with us. Michelle has enough to deal with but it is heart-rendering for us as her family to watch what she is going through.
“We have accepted this new reality but it has not made it any less difficult to deal with.”
The bands Jetstar and Lush Rollers will perform on the night and more local bands are set to be confirmed.
Michelle said: “My partner Robin is the bass player of Lushrollers, which is why I was very keen for them to reform for the night.
“Jetstar are the band made up of my old school pals, brothers Dougie and Ali Brown, and Gylen Boardman.”
Other bands who have also signed up include Lymerick Smith, Findo Gash, The Mystic Shoes and a DJ set from Netsounds.
Michelle added: “I am really delighted that so many fantastic Inverness bands have agreed to reform in order to raise money for Macmillan and the Inverness Cancer General Fund for Raigmore, who have provided such an incredible amount of support to myself, family and friends.
“The line-up is looking amazing and will it will be great to see so many great bands back together for the night.”
Michelle also hopes Inverness businesses will come forward and donate raffle prizes, so as much money will be raised as possible.
The concert will take place on 27th December with tickets priced at £8.
To purchase a ticket or donate a raffle price contact The Ironworks on 0871 789 4173 or visit www.ironworksvenue.com.