Broadstairs songwriter and musician releases EP during battle with rare cancer

Claire Pitt Wigmore released EP Arrhythmia

A Broadstairs songwriter and guitarist has released an EP inspired by her battle with a rare type of cancer.

Claire Pitt Wigmore, 24, is currently undergoing chemotherapy after a diagnosis of Diffuse Large B Cell lymphoma – with a tumour that is unusually in a main vein running to her heart.

She said: “I first became ill about one year ago. I was getting headaches, swelling and pressure in my head.

“My upper torso started to swell and if I bent down there was enormous pressure in my head.

“This went on for some time and then at New Year I was rushed to hospital. I was diagnosed with blood clots in my lungs but they didn’t know the cause.

“It turned out to be a cancerous tumour in the main vein running to my heart, it is very rare.”

The diagnosis meant chemo treatment was necessary. To preserve her chances of becoming a parent Claire had her eggs harvested and frozen so there is the chance of undertaking a fertility process in the future.

But during this treatment the tumour grew and Claire had to have open heart surgery at Guys at St Thomas Hospital 10 weeks ago.

She said: “They told me I might not live through it. It was extremely frightening for me and for my family.”

Claire did survive the major operation and then started chemotherapy at QEQM Hospital in Margate. She is now on her fourth cycle of chemo with two left and then,  in January,  Claire will start radiotherapy.

She said: “The lymphoma consultant said the chemo is working and they have seen an improvement.”

During this time Claire has had to give up her job as a music teacher at primary schools across Kent and her private student sessions but she has completed a stunning new EP containing five tracks.

She said: “My whole life has been put on hold this last year, especially since the treatment started, but I recently released a new EP. It is called Arrhythmia and it talks about my diagnosis and the things that are going on.

“I have put a lot of energy into it.”

Claire says she has been fascinated by the guitar since she was about four and started playing at the age of 10. Aged 12 she then also took up the piano as well.

She said: “I was about four when I knew I wanted to play. I think it was due to the music my parents were playing at the time, I would hear a guitar solo and it was exciting and engaging and I thought ‘I want to be able to do that’.”

Claire, who says her family all play instruments, has since been in a number of bands and now works predominately as a solo artist.

She is also part of Ramsgate’s Pie Factory Music emerging artists programme and helped to launch the group’s record label Wantsum Music? The label gives fellow aspiring musicians a platform to promote and distribute their music, whatever their age, genre, location or experience.

Arrhythmia was released earlier this month with production from Good Neighbour Records and artwork by Scott Robinson. Claire’s style is described as having elements of blues and indie  with electric guitar and ambient vocals.

Claire said: “Lymphoma has a high treatment success rate so I have hope. When treatment is over I want to get back to where I was, teaching. I realise that life will not immediately go back to normal and that it will take time to adapt and process everything but I want my life back again.”

The digital EP is £5. It can be found on Bandcamp, Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music.

Find Arrhythma on bandcamp here

Contact Claire’s music page here to order a physical CD

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