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Virtual Christmas choir raising the spirits of cancer survivors

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Survivors of head and neck cancer are raising their voices in this festive season in chorus for government funding

They’ve had invasive, life-altering surgeries on their face, tongue, throat, sinuses and salivary glands. They’ve experienced the exquisite, life-saving pain of radiotherapy. They’ve endured rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy

However, despite invasive surgeries on their face, tongue, throat and sinuses, over 60 people created a virtual choir, singing deck the halls.

Head and Neck Cancer Australia Chief Executive, Nadia Rosin, says the choir’s voices include the real voices of survivors and the people who love them. For choir members who could not sing because of surgery, pain, side effects or even fear of singing, they were welcome to clap, dance, play an instrument or even hold up a sign. 

Unlike some more common cancers, head and neck cancer receives no government funding in Australia for many patient outcomes.

Raising our Voices: Head and Neck Cancer Australia Christmas Carol

14 people newly diagnosed every day with a type of Head and Neck Cancer the information, resources, advocacy and support Head and Neck Cancer Australia (HANCA) provides is vital.

Whether it was singing, clapping, holding up a sign, playing an instrument or dancing, the joy expressed by everyone truly makes this performance incredibly special!

Head and Neck Cancer Australia chief executive Nadia Rosin says that more than a thousand Australians died every year from a head or neck cancer “but unlike some more common cancers, head and neck cancer receives no government funding for prevention, early diagnosis or to improve patient outcomes”.

“Many people haven’t even heard of head and neck cancers until they, or someone they love, is diagnosed with one of these cancers. Think sinus cancer, salivary gland cancer, throat cancer, laryngeal cancer and lip or mouth cancer,” Rosin says.

The most important risk factors for head and neck are tobacco and alcohol use which are responsible for over 75% of cases. But what many people may not know is that today in Australia, the human papilloma virus (HPV), the same virus that causes cervical cancer is the most common cause of tonsil cancer and tongue-based cancer.

There has also been an alarming 385% increase in oral cancers in young women under 45 and the cause is unknown. So even if you don’t smoke or drink to excess, you could be at risk

“Our choir is elevating the voices of survivors and advocating for the 5,100 Australians diagnosed every year, and the 17,000 Australians living with the effects of head and neck cancer, so that we can raise awareness and deliver the right support and treatment for our Head and Neck Cancer community,” Rosin says.

“Given that many people’s voices and ability to speak is changed by head and neck cancer, or its treatment, it might seem strange that we’ve decided to form a pop-up, virtual choir. But we worked very closely with an experienced choir master, speech pathologist and mixing engineer so that everyone who wanted to participate could participate.”

Head and neck cancers are such a sinister disease and the effects of the cancer and their treatment can stay with people for the rest of their lives. It is displayed on their faces for the world to see and it cannot be hidden by clothing. 

Unlike some more common cancers, there is no screening test for head and neck cancer so all Australians, particularly men, need to be aware of the signs and symptoms and act quickly if they notice something unusual.

Some of the more common causes of head and neck cancer include a sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal, pain swallowing, a sore throat or a lump in the neck. Other symptoms can include ear pain, a blocked nose on one side and/or bloody discharge or a bulging or watery eye.

The best thing people can do to reduce their risks around head and neck cancer to is to be aware of the symptoms and get them checked out by their local doctor or dentist without delay. An early diagnosis can make all the difference.

The carol will be sent to every politician in Australia to advocate for funding support.

“We encourage everyone across the country to share it far and wide. Funding for awareness and patient support is the way we’ll improve health outcomes – and literally change lives – for people diagnosed with head and neck cancer,” Rosin says.

People are being encouraged to donate to HANCA Christmas Appeal to support the head and neck cancer community and raising the voices of people living with Head and Neck Cancer.

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Singing legend Meat Loaf dies

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Legendary singer, Meat Loaf has died aged 74

The American singer was famous for his songs “I’d Do Anything for Love” and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”.

Born Marvin Lee Aday, the Grammy Winner passed away on Thursday night.

The cause of his death has not been disclosed.

A post on his official Facebook page read: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight”

His wife Deborah was by his side, and his daughters Pearl and Amanda were with him in the hours leading to his death.

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Alec Baldwin hit with massive $25M defamation lawsuit

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Movie star Alec Baldwin is being sued by the family of a U.S. Marine who was killed in Afghanistan

A widow and two sisters of a U.S. Marine officer killed in Afghanistan are suing Alec Baldwin.

The women are alleging the actor exposed them to a flood of social media hatred by claiming on Instagram that one sister was an “insurrectionist” for attending former President Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C. rally on January 6 of last year.

According to NBC, the sister by the name of Roice McCollum, protested peacefully and legally.

According to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne, she was not among those who stormed the U.S. Capitol that day and after being interviewed by the FBI, “was never detained, arrested, accused of or charged with any crime”

The lawsuit comes as Baldwin is immersed in an ongoing investigation into the death of a cinematographer and the wounding of a director on the set of the movie, Rust.

The finer details:

NBC is reporting that last year, Alec Baldwin sent Roice McCollum a $5,000 payment to help the widow of her brother, Marine Lance Cpl Rylee McCollum.

He was among 13 U.S. soldiers killed in a suicide bombing August 26 at the Kabul airport, according to the lawsuit.

On January 3 of this year, the lawsuit claims that the actor privately messaged Roice McCollum on Instagram soon after she posted an almost year-old photo of the Trump rally. The claim states that Baldwin was asking if she was the same woman who’d taken his donation.

The suit says McCollum confirmed she was at the protest and told Baldwin, “Protesting is perfectly legal.”

The suit says Baldwin responded by remarking that “her activities resulted in the unlawful destruction of government property, the death of a law enforcement officer, an assault on the certification of the presidential election,” and told McCollum that he’d reposted the photo to his 2.4 million Instagram followers.

After Baldwin shared the photo of the January 6 protest on social media. Roice McCollum got “hundreds upon hundreds of hateful messages,” including one telling her to “get raped and die” and that her brother “got what he deserved,” according to the lawsuit.

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Marvel actor killed in skiing accident

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French actor Gaspard Ulliel, who is set to appear in Marvel’s forthcoming TV series Moon Knight, has died at the age of 37

He was killed during skiing accident in the Alps when he collided with another person.

He suffered severe brain trauma and was airlifted to a hospital in Grenoble, where he died the next day. 

Ulliel is one of France’s best-known actors and has appeared in It’s Only the End of the World and Saint Laurent, the biopic of the French fashion designer.

The news of his death came just a day after the trailer for Moon Knight, in which he stars as Midnight Man, was released online.

‘Considerable magnetism’

“French cinema is losing a huge talent, full of charm and energy,” tweeted French finance minister Bruno Le Maire.

Writer and critic Caspar Salmon also paid tribute, describing Ulliel as “an actor of considerable magnetism, talent and beauty, who had already carved out an impressive and varied career”.

He won the best actor Cesar – the French equivalent of an Oscar – in 2017 for his performance opposite Marion Cotillard and Lea Seydoux in It’s Only the End of the World.

In 2005, he won most promising actor for his performance in the World War One drama A Very Long Engagement, which also starred Audrey Tautou.

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