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Prostate cancer patient pens song in honour of 'angels' at Mount Vernon
A CANCER patient has come up with a unique way to thank caring staff at Mount Vernon Hospital - by writing and recording a song in their honour.
Bob Arthy, 69, has penned Vernon Girls, a tribute to his 'angels' at the hospital's cancer centre, in Rickmansworth Road, Northwood.
The former headteacher, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, explained: "The staff are like angels - their quest to help other people is never ending and they make all of us waiting for 'zapping' (radiotherapy) feel very positive about beating the big bad cancer beasts.
"They are all lovely girls and they have been an amazing source of strength and support - it makes you feel very grateful for the NHS.
"I have written a few songs before and I couldn't think of a better way to express my gratitude to the staff."
Mr Arthy, who lives in Chorleywood, has been receiving radiotherapy every day for the past month, and is due to complete his treatment in April this year.
He wrote the song with the help of musician Mick Flynn, of the New Seekers, who lives nearby.
The duo also co-wrote and recorded another song, Doctor Please Don't Send Me Away, describing the symptoms of prostate cancer, just days after Mr Arthy received a life-saving operation in August 2008.
He performed Vernon Girls to staff during a visit to the hospital over the festive period.
Mount Vernon Cancer Centre manager, Cathy Williams, said: "While it's not unusual for our patients and their families to share with us their gratitude for the care they receive from our staff, it's a first for us for someone to put these thoughts in to a song.
"Our staff were delighted to receive the CDs and to be sung to in person as well!"
Mr Arthy is now on a determined mission to increase awareness of prostate cancer and the importance of being diagnosed early.
He is one of the founders of The Friends of Prostate Cancer (FOPS), a support group for anyone who has been affected by the malfunctioning of the prostate gland.
According to Cancer Research UK, prostate cancer accounts for 12 per cent of male deaths from cancer in Britain, with more than 10,000 men succumbing to the disease each year.
It is the second most common form of cancer in men after lung cancer, but it can often be treated if it is caught early enough.
Mr Arthy said of the group, which was established one year ago: "Our primary aim is to seek ways of helping those who are treading the long, and sometimes very lonely road we have experienced, so they can forever banish the clouds of despair and once more feel the sunshine.
"Educating people about the symptoms and getting cancer before it gets you is our way of giving something back."
For further information about FOPS, and to hear Mr Arthy's song, Vernon Girls, visit www.thefops.org.uk
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