Patient Stories

Andrew’s Resilience: A Trumpeter’s Triumph Over Adversity

Cancer Type : Oral cancer

In a remarkable display of resilience and dedication to his craft, trumpeter Andrew took to the pitch at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium on Saturday 28th October, to play “The Last Post” in front of a crowd of 10,000 people. What makes this performance even more extraordinary is that it took place four weeks into his six weeks radiotherapy treatment for throat cancer.

Andrew playing the last post at Oxford United
Oxford United v Wycombe Wanderers – EFL Sky Bet League One 23/24

Born in London, Andrew has established himself as one of the most high-profile trumpeters in the world. He has appeared in concert as a soloist and recorded (baroque and classical repertoire including Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2) with the English Chamber Orchestra (Principal Trumpet, 1986 – 2016) and specialised in contemporary music performance with the London Sinfonietta (Principal Trumpet, 2003 – 2008).

He can also be heard on hundreds of film scores and recordings from Gladiator to Star Wars plus Joni Mitchells’ Travelogue album as a featured artist, credited solos on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Alberto Iglesias), The Legend of Bagger Vance (Rachel Portman), the latest Mission Impossible (Dead Reckoning) and the last seven 007 movies. Other notable appearances within different genres of music include artists such as Quincy Jones, Ornette Coleman, Sir Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel and Gregory Porter.  

Andy’s Diagnosis

Andy developed a cyst on his neck in March this year (2023) and after having it removed, the biopsy showed that it was the site of secondary cancer. He then underwent surgery, where they removed the primary site on the back of his tongue. Luckily it was caught in the early stages but still required 6 weeks of radiotherapy, to both sides of his neck. Through all of this time he’s hardly been able to work because of his treatment. 

When asked about how he felt now having just finished his radiotherapy he said: “Mentally, there is no doubt that this has been the most invasive and challenging thing in my life. My advice for people about to start Head and Neck Radiotherapy, is to partition the day with mindfulness, activities and at least one 30-minute walk. It’s not possible to stay positive every minute of the day and easier to accept that there will be some downturns. 6 weeks of going to the hospital seemed such a hurdle at the beginning but looking back it flew by! I enjoyed the 60-mile round trip with NHS Transport, where I struck up some new friendships!” 

Despite facing Throat cancer, Andrew’s recent performance at the Kassam Stadium stands as a testament to his spirit. He very kindly donated his fee to Oracle Cancer Trust and Oxford United kindly offered to double his donation. The Big Give Christmas campaign gave them the opportunity to further double their donations. 

The courage and determination displayed by this maestro not only inspires fellow musicians but serves as a reminder of the power of music to overcome adversity. Andrew has now completed his six weeks of radiotherapy treatment and we wish him a speedy recovery. 

Witness Andrew’s performance at the Kassam Stadium in this video. 

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