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'Bap Kennedy facing major surgery and it will be a long road, but he is lifted by fans' support'

Popular Belfast singer praises NHS as he prepares for cancer operation

By Stephanie Bell

Published 13/07/2016

Bap Kennedy and wife Brenda
Bap Kennedy and wife Brenda
Bap performing on stage

Singer Bap Kennedy faces major surgery this month after a series of tests revealed he has cancer in his pancreas and bowel.

The popular Belfast singer-songwriter was initially diagnosed with cancer in June and was so overwhelmed by messages of support that he started a health blog to keep fans up to date on his progress.

However his wife Brenda has revealed that he currently does not feel up to writing his blog but, despite a tough road ahead, he remains positive and optimistic.

Brenda, who has updated the blog on her husband's behalf, last night told the Belfast Telegraph: "Bap has always been a very strong person, and even though he is going through a very tough time at the moment, he's still as positive as ever.

"Since he was diagnosed we've been getting hundreds of supportive messages from all corners of the globe.

"Week after week people are telling us how much Bap's music has touched them over the years. Knowing that has given Bap a real lift.

"It has made him realise more than ever just how powerful music really is - and that is going to help him get through this."

She said that after weeks of tests and expert analysis to determine the best course of action, Bap will undergo an operation at the end of this month, adding: "Because two areas are affected, the pancreas and bowel, this will be very major surgery so Bap has a long road ahead of him and he will be out of action for quite a while."

Brenda revealed that just before Bap took ill in May he had plans for a major tour of Europe with performances in Italy, Norway, Germany and the UK.

He had to cancel after being admitted to the Ulster Hospital suffering from severe stomach pains. At the time he said he was in "absolute agony" before undergoing 24 hours of assessment which led to the unexpected cancer diagnosis.

The former Energy Orchard front man decided to write an online diary chronicling his battle with cancer after hundreds of fans contacted him to wish him well.

Brenda said that despite the treatment that lies ahead Bap is focused on getting back to his music. She said: "It's amazing how your life can change overnight.

"At this stage all our touring dates are cancelled, but we are determined to get back to doing what we love best, and we hope to be out playing again in 2017 if possible.

"Bap continues to express his gratitude to the wonderful NHS for their care, expertise and kindness, and to the extremely dedicated and helpful staff of Macmillan Cancer Support."

Brenda urged his many fans who have been keen to help the family through this difficult time to support Bap by continuing to enjoy, share and celebrate the great body of music he has spent a lifetime creating.

She is currently updating Bap's blog on his behalf. In his first post after his diagnosis he revealed how touched he had been by acts of kindness he had witnessed at the Ulster Hospital during his stay.

He wrote: "Kindness was everywhere and all-pervasive, as if the cold indifferent universe outside the hospital windows didn't really exist. It made me realise how precious an enterprise is our National Health Service.

"The doctors and nurses, the administrators and cleaners, lab technicians, the porters who wheeled me from one scanning machine to another, everyone working together to keep the body of this incredible living system healthy and functioning."

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