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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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‘Awesome’ Raymond battles cancer head-on

Vocalist Raymond Edwards is in high spirits despite his second cancer diagnosis. PHOTOS COURTESY RAYMOND EDWARDS
Vocalist Raymond Edwards is in high spirits despite his second cancer diagnosis. PHOTOS COURTESY RAYMOND EDWARDS

This is his second battle with cancer, but singer Raymond Edwards is ready to fight with aggressive treatments, a positive attitude, and the support of his friends and family.

On October 4, Edwards, who has also struggled with diabetes for the past six years, announced in a Facebook post that he has cancer.

“There is a tumour between my transverse and descending colon," he wrote. "Because of my family and personal history with this disease my team of doctors and I have decided to treat it aggressively. We are removing the rest of my colon and connecting my small intestine to my rectum.”

He said his doctors and nutritionist believe the surgery – to be done on October 19 – along with several lifestyle adjustments, was the best route to success to reduce the chance of recurrence.

“As with all surgery, there is risk and I will need your prayerful support during and post operation... I am in great spirits and looking forward to improved health in the not too distant future. We staying bright, cheerful, and positive.”

When Sunday Newsday contacted Edwards his first response was, “I’m awesome!” He added that “Christ in me keeps me positive.”

In another Facebook post he further explained his positive attitude, saying if someone is sick they have two options: either they get better or they die.

“If you get better no worries and if you die you’ll be so damn busy shaking hands with all your friends you won’t have time to worry. So why worry!”

He said about four weeks ago, he was hospitalised because of swelling. He was put on blood thinners, which caused the tumour to bleed, and so it was discovered.

“So nothing happens without reason. If I wasn’t placed on blood thinners we would have never found it.”

(L-R) Nigel Floyd, Raymond Edwards, and Eddie Cumberbatch of QED on stage at their most recent concert Down Memory Lane 3: Soundtracks of the Screen at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s on June 3.

Edwards’ first brush with cancer was in 2003, when his ascending colon was removed. He said his father had cancer three times and his brother twice, and both died from the disease, so he knew there was a possibility of a relapse – but he was not worried.

“To me, worry solves nothing. I believe Almighty God has me here for a reason and until it’s time to close my eyes I will do all in my strength to live a good life.”

He said he trusts in his doctor Prof Dilip Dan's advice and is confident he is the right person for the job. The surgery is “miles ahead” of his 2003 operation so, based on both his and his family’s history with cancer, he believes it is best to remove it all so it cannot return a third time. He added that the doctors were not yet sure of the stage of the tumour so chemotherapy and radiation will be decided on after the surgery.

Although he is not worried about the surgery’s outcome, Edwards was worried about the cost. Fortunately for a grateful Edwards, his relatives are helping him and he intends to “work vigorously post-surgery” to repay them. Also, his friends Nigel Floyd, Edward Cumberbatch and Leonard Lander are planning several fundraisers to help offset the cost.

Edwards said his wife Desiree Connor, and mother, Pearl Edwards-Gabriel, are his number one and two supporters and primary caregivers, pre-and-post-surgery. However, he also has supporters in his QED (Quite Exquisitely Done Co Ltd), church and media families.

“While there is risk in surgery, they have been at my side though all my challenges and want to see my quality of life improve... (They) are all integral parts of my life and those who can help by donating blood or money or prayers have been and continue to provide strength. So I am good.”

Asked why he decided to announce his condition on Facebook, Edwards said he is not a believer in keeping secrets, mostly because they never stay secret. However, his main reason is to create awareness.

“There are many people who we know and many who we don’t know who read our posts and gather inspiration from them.

"Also, by sharing my experience if I can get one person to go and get checked, it would be worth it. Information is power and for too long people have been afraid of the word cancer. If my sharing dispels that fear in one person, then it would have been a good post.”

In the meantime, Edwards said he is ready to fight and does not want any “sad faces” because of him.

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