Wednesday 15 August 2018

Michael Morpurgo reveals cancer battle with ‘excellent prospects for recovery’

The author, 74, was diagnosed last year and underwent radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo (Tom Wilkinson/PA)
War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo (Tom Wilkinson/PA)

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

Sir Michael Morpurgo has revealed a secret battle with cancer of the larynx.

The author, 74, was diagnosed last year and underwent radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital, he revealed on Wednesday.

He said he had “excellent prospects for a full recovery” and his voice was finding “new strength”, in a statement to the Press Association.

The former Children’s Laureate had opened up about his treatment in this week’s Spectator.

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Sir Michael Morpurgo after he was awarded a knighthood during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace (John Stillwell/PA)

In the diary entry he said: “By 74 it is easy to feel that you have seen it all, done it all, that nothing much surprises you any more.”

He added: “Even an unwelcome medical diagnosis does not surprise you. You cope because you have to. You know it’s what happens to us all.

“You’ve been lucky all these years. Now it’s your turn, stuff happens. That’s life, you tell yourself, or the other thing.

“Friends and family much younger have been ill, and suffered long; some have fallen off the perch younger than I am now. I’ve been a lucky old parrot.”

He reflected on distracting himself from the “whirring and clunking of the machine, those life-prolonging rays beaming into you”.

“Well, what and who, besides Marie Curie, did I think of during my beaming time, locked inside my plastic mask, down in the wonderful radiology department at the Marsden?” he said.

Sir Michael, who was a teacher for nearly 10 years, said he thought of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild, as well as the youngsters he had taught or had read his books over the years.

“They were all the hope I needed, lying there in that hospital being healed.

“It wasn’t only the radiotherapy doing the healing. It was the memories of those children too.

“They helped me through, helped me to keep hoping, keep believing. They still do, every day,” he added.

In a follow-up statement to the Press Association, he said: “Last year I was diagnosed with an early cancer of the larynx and my perspective on so much changed.

“Suddenly the disease became central to my life at home, and to my work.

“It had to be confronted, dealt with, both surgically and psychologically.

“Now, with excellent prospects for a full recovery, with my voice finding new strength, I have time to look back at the whole experience, at how fortunate I have been.”

In September he cancelled a number of public appearances due to ill health.

Press Association

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