A mum-of-two who battled a brain tumour is set to sing on stage in Germany this weekend, after YouTube videos of her singing in her kitchen caught the eyes of a Northern Soul event organiser.
Sarah Collins 36, had a tumour almost a quarter of the size of her brain removed two and a half years ago, leaving her suffering from epilepsy, however she hasn’t let her illness stop her pursuing her passion for music. “It has made me realise how lucky I am to be here, and to be alive, which has given me the boost to do what I want to do.”
Sarah’s youngest child, Lily, now two, was just eight weeks old when Sarah collapsed at home and leading to her tumour being discovered.
“I’dhad a few headaches and felt unwell but I put that down to pregnancy.”
“I had just dropped my eldest, Freddie, eight, at school when I came over dizzy and fell and knocked myself unconsciousunconscious.”
It wasn’t until 4.30pm when Sarah’s fiancé Tom Durance, 30 a builder, returned from work that she was found.
She was rushed to Harrogate Hospital where the tumour was discovered, before undergoing surgery to remove the grade one meningioma tumour at Leeds General Infirmary
“I was lucky I had the fall, if they hadn’t have found the tumour I could have ended up having a brain haemorrhage.”
In the months after her surgery Sarah developed epilepsy and has to take medication three times a day.
She said: “I live on a country lane, I was too scared to take Lily out for walk in the push chair incase I had a seizure.”
Unable to drive Sarah felt as though she had lost her independence, and turned to music.
She said: “I had to be strong and get through it for my family. My fiancé, Tom, he was my rock, I lay there in intensive care thinking I can’t die, we haven’t got married yet.
“I could have gone in on myself and become a complete hermit but I didn’t, I got back to what I wanted to do.”
A year after her surgery she started to make videos of her singing at her High Birstwith kitchen table, posting them on YouTube.
She added: “Music is a therapy for me, it always has been but even more so since my operation.
“I was singing at home, where I was safe, I could block out reality. Soul music is just a great way to get across emotions and feelings. I was in my own world when I was singing again.”
Sarah’s videos caught the eyes of Northern Soul fans and she has built up an online following.
American soul music legend Candi Staton has tweeted her support for Sarah, and a New York radio station, WDFU has also backed her talent.
“I got a message to say I have a bit of a following in Ireland, and a clothes designer who has made clothes for Prince George is making my little girl a robe!” Sarah added.
“That is the magic of the internet.”
Today (Thursday February 5) Sarah and Harrogate singer songwriter, Chris Moretti, are travelling to Kalkar in Germany to perform at Europe’s largest Northern Soul event, the Scooterist Meltdown weekend.
She said: “I am nervous, it’s the first time I have travelled abroad since my operation, and the biggest gig I have done since.
“I have done a few small gigs in pubs and for parties with Chris, but this is going to be a big gig.”
Prior to her operation Sarah played with various bands across Yorkshire including rock band Ironic, Elmer Fudd’s Wildride and the Night Jars. She said she had been interested in soul music and motown since she was a child.
“My dad was a Mod, so I have always listened to that sort of music. I grew up listening to soul music records.
“Then when I started uploading videos I realised lots of Northern Soul fans were following me and encouraging me.”
She added: “After such a traumatic, horrific ordeal I just wanted normality in my life again. Since what I went through, I think life is too short, I have got to do the best I can and what I want to do and see what happens.”
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