Broadstairs cancer survivor Claire thanks specialist nurse who was ‘knight in shining armour’

Musician Claire Pitt-Wigmore Photo Scott Robinson

By Samantha Alexander

Broadstairs guitarist, singer and song-writer Claire Pitt-Wigmore has thanked the teenage and young cancer specialist nurse who was her ‘knight in shining armour’ as she battled a rare strain of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being diagnosed at the age of 24.

Claire said: “I noticed some swelling in my upper torso, and whenever I bent down I would feel a lot of pressure in my head. It was around Christmas time and my family said I even looked really unwell.

“One day I was rushed to the emergency department with chest pain and a racing heart, I had clots in my lungs and tests discovered a mass inside one of my veins.

“I had a biopsy and the wait to find out the result was just the worst. Once you know you have cancer you can process that and manage it, but not knowing was really tough.

“When it was confirmed as cancer, I was asked if I wanted to harvest my eggs. Only being 24-years-old I had no idea if I ever wanted children, but I suddenly had to decide and was given a day to do so, it was all very intense.

“I began chemotherapy and spent a lot of time at the Viking Day unit at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate. The staff all got to know me really well and were lovely.

“Early on in my chemotherapy, Ami Archer, teenage and young cancer specialist nurse, came and sat down next to me, introduced herself, and told me that she would be there to support me throughout my treatment.

“She was a knight in shining armour really, she was always there for me, and happy to answer any questions I had. It was really clear from the beginning that she was someone who was in the job for the right reasons because she got to know me as a person and was genuine about the support she could offer.”

Claire Pitt Wigmore released EP Arrhythmia

While undergoing chemo Claire had to give up her job as a music teacher at primary schools across Kent and her private student sessions but she instead completed a stunning EP called Arrhythmia containing five tracks.

Unfortunately, some tests revealed that the tumour had moved from Claire’s vein to her heart, so she needed to have open heart surgery where she was given a 50/50 chance of survival.

Everything went well with the surgery and Claire was given the all clear in January 2023, but not long after, traces of lymphoma were found in the back of her brain.

Claire said: “It was really tough finding out that actually my journey with cancer wasn’t over yet. I had to have more chemotherapy, I developed sepsis, and eventually I needed a stem cell transplant which left me feeling very weak for a while.

“I received the all clear in October last year and I’m doing my best to live as though it won’t come back. Overall it was a very difficult couple of years, but I just went into survival mode and did everything I could to get through it.

“I don’t think it’s possible to return to life before cancer, but I am very happy to be able to get on with life again without the pain or frequent hospital trips. I have started working again as a private guitar teacher, and I also play gigs in local venues both on my own and in a band.”

Broadstairs songwriter and musician releases EP during battle with rare cancer