Opera singer who beat cancer bursts into song at station

Monica McGhee thought she'd never sing again after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Monica was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 28.
Monica was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 28.

An opera singer who feared she would never sing again after suffering from cancer has stunned passengers at a Glasgow train station by bursting into song.

Scots soprano Monica McGhee brought Scotland’s busiest station to a standstill on Tuesday with an impromptu performance.

She and concert pianist Jose Javier Ucendo Malo of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland took over the station’s piano to wow the crowds.

Monica, from Motherwell, was just 28 when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after discovering a lump on her neck.

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Just seven days later, she had surgery to remove the tumour.

Monica, now 31, said: “When I got cancer I risked losing the one thing in my life I relied on more than anything else, my voice.

“My first thought was am I going to die but then it was am I going to lose my voice?

“The tumour was growing close to the lower laryngeal nerve and I feared I’d never be able to sing again.

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“The very first thing I wanted to know when I woke up from the operation was whether my vocal cords had been damaged in any way.

“When the surgeon gave me a thumbs up to say the operation had been a complete success I cried with relief.”

The 30-minute surprise show was set up to launch Stand Up To Cancer, a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.

Monica hit the sky-high notes during a breathtaking rendition of ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ from a Puccini opera as well as best loved arias ‘Un bel di vedremo’ from Madame Butterfly and ‘Song to the Moon’ from Dvorak’s Rusalka.

She said: “I am forever grateful I escaped cancer relatively unscathed compared to the hell some people have to go through.

“Resilience, a sense of humour, good people around me and the amazing skills of the NHS got me through.

“Although cancer threatened to derail everything there was a way back.

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“Now I’m proud to reach out and help other people going through cancer. I’m proud to Stand Up To Cancer.”


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