Mel Lampro was getting ready for a gig with her band, Braver than Fiction, when a horrible pain caused her to stumble and fall over.
Nobody saw and she went on with the show at the Nottingham House pub in Broomhill without mentioning it – but it was to be the band’s last performance for more than a year.
Mel, who had a day job as a civil servant at the time, said: “I’d had some bad pains in my leg and back. I’d put it down to having a desk job and sitting down for long time but it kept getting worse.”
On Christmas Eve 2014, Mel found herself in A&E after another tumble resulted in a sprained ankle.
The following month she had an MRI scan – and soon after was given the devastating news that she had advanced Stage Four non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
“I had a complete meltdown,” said Mel, of Southey.
“I wasn’t very brave, I was an absolute mess. I lost it. I was really scared and frightened.”
Medics broke the news to Mel that she had a huge, cancerous tumour at the bottom of her spine. The initial prognosis was grim and the possibility loomed that she may not survive.
“It had got really big and wrapped itself around my spine,” said the mum-of-three.
“To make it worse it had also gone inside my spine, which made it inoperable.”
Mel was supported by staff at Sheffield’s hospitals as well as Macmillan Cancer Support, Cavendish Cancer Care and St Luke’s Hospice as she began chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Her treatments ended last summer and, thankfully, she is now in remission and hoping to get back to work in 2016.
She said: “I still have some difficulty walking and use crutches almost all of the time.
“Going out to band practice was the only activity I did for a long time. All the way through, it’s all I’ve focussed on. It kept me going.”
Braver than Fiction is now fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support through their initiative dubbed #braverthancancer.
Mel will join her bandmates – Adam Lewis on bass, Jason Bradley on keyboards, Paul Tipple on drums and Martin Tune on guitar – at the first gig since her diagnosis at West Street Live in Sheffield city centre on January 12.
n Visit www.justgiving.com/braverthancancer