Bucks Poet releases single to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity

Tony preparing to climb KilimanjaroTony preparing to climb Kilimanjaro
Tony preparing to climb Kilimanjaro
Buckinghamshire-based Tony Starkey, 73, has been living under the shadow of an incurable brain tumour since December 2019

Despite this, the Chesham poet he has kept laughing, living and continuing his writing hobby.

One of Tony’s poems was set to music by his nephew, and in the week leading up to Easter a group of musicians and songwriters, including songwriter and guitarist Eric Appapoulay, kindly offered their support, creating a beautiful cover version of Tony’s poem, ‘I.N.R.I. (Father Forgive Them)’.

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The haunting guitar depicts the desolation and sadness of Good Friday rising to a crescendo signifying re-birth and new hope.

The track and music video were released on Easter Sunday to help support Tony raise vital funds for The Brain Tumour Charity, the UK’s leading charity dedicated to fighting this devastating disease.

Tony said: “I’m very grateful to everyone who has helped to bring this project to fruition and I’m so proud and excited that Eric Appapoulay chose my poem, and my nephew Jimi Starkey's music, to record his own version of the piece. It's amazing, and for such an important cause!’’

Tony’s diagnosis changed his world forever. “It was a peculiar feeling, like being disconnected from reality. A frightening experience to be told with shocking certainty that it’s a grade 4 glioblastoma, and that there is no cure.

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“The downturn was sudden and startling. I lost all sense of balance, I couldn’t walk unaided nor dress myself. I spent much of the day asleep and lost all sense of hope.

Tony playing guitar in Cornwall in 2019Tony playing guitar in Cornwall in 2019
Tony playing guitar in Cornwall in 2019

“I’m sharing my story to raise the profile of the need for much more research to find cures for brain tumours and the huge sum of money that is needed to fund it.

“I hope my own experience can help show the reality of living with a brain tumour in order to empathise with fellow sufferers and educate the public in order to prompt donations to fund the much needed research.”

Tony has raised over £4,000 already since the release.

The recording of ‘I.N.R.I. (Father Forgive Them)’ can be heard for free on YouTube, with donations being directed to Tony’s JustGiving page:

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https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tonystarkeyforthebraintumourcharitywalkwithmeTony said: “Sharing my poetry has helped me to forge a closer connection with a number of friends which has been a wonderful support at this time. It has helped to keep my mind active.

“Producing this anthology has been an amazing team effort which has given me much joy as I’ve watched many of my immediate family members working closely together to make my dream of an anthology a reality, thus bringing us ever closer as a family.

“During my journey I’ve witnessed and heard much that has made me consider issues such as the way people face suffering and to put this into perspective. Surprisingly, and indeed amazingly, we have found great joy during this time and though we have, without doubt, faced the absolute reality of my situation, we have been extremely happy. There is much fun, love, laughter and happiness in my life.”

Tony’s wife, Judith, said: “Please share this music far and wide so we can help stop brain tumours shattering the lives of young people and their families. We desperately want to help those younger victims, so families aren’t broken by a brain tumour diagnosis.”

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“We’ve got lots of fundraising plans for the future, the most immediate being the launch of Tony’s new book – his poetry anthology!

“It’s an eclectic mix of poetry & rhymes; some funny, wry observations of life, some thoughtful and some sad such as the poem Tony wrote when he was very close to death, about having a brain tumour. The poignant, emotional narrative is totally compelling.”

Gina Almond, The Charity’s Director of Fundraising, said: “We are grateful for all the efforts made by our incredible fundraisers and thank them.

“Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s and survival rates have not improved significantly over the last 40 years. We are leading the way in changing this by fighting brain tumours on all fronts.

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“We receive no government funding and rely 100% on voluntary donations, so it’s only through the efforts of people like Tony that we can change these shocking statistics in the future.”

The Brain Tumour Charity is the UK’s largest dedicated brain tumour charity, committed to fighting brain tumours on all fronts.

The organisation funds pioneering research to increase survival and improve treatment options, as well as raising awareness of the symptoms and effects of brain tumours to bring about earlier diagnosis.

The Charity also provides support for everyone affected so that they can live as full a life as possible, with the best quality of life.

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