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Patient's dying moments helped inspire cancer expert's charity album

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 17/06/2015

Joe O’Sullivan
Joe O’Sullivan
Joe O’Sullivan with bandmates Sarah Williamson and Rossa Brazil

A wife's words to her dying husband are one of the many things to have inspired a cancer expert to write an album to raise money for a Northern Ireland charity.

Professor Joe O'Sullivan, clinical director of oncology at the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital, has spent more than 11 years treating people.

Motivated by his experiences at patients' besides, the 45-year-old, who lives in Bangor, wrote the album in aid of the Friends of the Cancer Centre.

Take A Deep Breath was recorded with Joe's bandmates Sarah Williamson, a health service manager, and Dr Rossa Brazil, a psychiatrist.

Joe explained the moment that led to him writing the title track of the album.

"This song was inspired by an encounter with a married couple a few years ago," he said.

"The man was in distress toward the end of his life and his wife, as words of comfort, told him to take a deep breath.

"I've reflected on that moment, as well as the other moments that have inspired each of my tracks, and I believe love can be a healing force in a patient's journey."

The Friends of the Cancer Centre has funded 31 additional doctors, nurses and researchers and invested nearly £1 million into local cancer research.

Joe said the charity had become part of the life of the hospital.

"The main inspiration behind the album comes from the courageous people I've had the privilege of meeting and treating over the years," he added.

Colleen Shaw, chief executive of Friends of the Cancer Centre, said: "When someone is told that they have cancer, it's often hard to think of anything else.

"For me, Joe's album tells patients that life doesn't have to stop, and that you should still try to enjoy every moment you can."

Take A Deep Breath is available to buy from www.friendsofthecancercentre.com or from iTunes. The album costs £10 and all proceeds will be donated to Friends of the Cancer Centre

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