Cancer survivor launches Fife rock festival to raise Maggies funds

A Fife cancer survivor who had a tumour the weight of a newborn baby removed from his chest has launched a music festival to raise funds for Maggies.

Friday, 29th March 2019, 11:49 am
Updated Friday, 29th March 2019, 2:23 pm
Kevin O'Neill, with fellow organiser Brian Neeson, and Fife MP Douglas Chapman, centre

Kevin O’Neill, 49, underwent life-saving surgery in 2015 when surgeons removed a massive ‘bowling ball-sized’ tumour from his chest.

The dad-of-one, from Inverkeithing, is one of just 15 people worldwide diagnosed with malignant myopericytoma, and continues to suffer ongoing pain.

He is also a die-hard prog rock fan – and had hoped of putting on gigs, before ill health prevented him from doing so.

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Now Kevin is launching the first indoor prog rock festival in Scotland, to raise funds for Maggie’s Fife and Sarcoma UK.

Kevin said: “I’m well known for being the man who beat a massive tumour, but those who know me well also know I’m a massive Marillion fan.

“I’ve wanted to launch a prog rock gig in Fife for some time but ill-health prevented me – until now.”

The Prog in the Park event, which takes place at the Glen Pavilion in Pittencrieff on Saturday, April 6, will raise funds for Maggie’s Fife and Sarcoma UK.

Kevin added: “I wanted to raise funds for Maggie’s, who gave fantastic support and friendship to me and my family, and also Sarcoma UK, which my condition falls under, to raise awareness of this condition.”

The operation at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh took 12 hours and required the removal of his ribs on the right side and part of his shoulder.

It also required him to be put into an induced coma for two-and-a-half days.

He said: “When I had the surgery at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh (RIE), the oncologists said they had never seen a tumour this size before - it was the weight of a newborn baby - and didn’t have a clue what it was.

“It was sent to The Beatson Cancer Centre Glasgow and the Royal Marsden Hospital London before being sent on to specialists in the USA.

“The next month I received a phone call giving me news that I had malignant myopericytoma.

“I found out it was so rare only 15 people in the world had been diagnosed with it.

“I was so shocked I had to hand over the phone to my wife Kirsty.”

Co-promoter Brian Neeson said: “Having been a co-producer of two Charity Music Events in 2018 including the award — nominated ‘Yes Fan Convention’ at London Palladium in March, I’m delighted to be working with Kevin on Prog in the park

“It feels so rewarding to promote the music you love, while at the same time providing funds and awareness for two deserving causes.”

The event has also attracted the support of Fife MPs Lesley Laird and Douglas Chapman who both met him recently.

Prog in the Park takes place on Saturday April 6, 2019 at The Glen Pavilion Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline.

It will feature headliners StillMarillion and a line-up which includes Genesis tribute band AfterGlow,

This starts at 11am and will finish by 11pm.

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