Main Menu

Manchester father releases EP to fundraise in son’s honour

To mark Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March 2021, Chris Nelson produced spoken word poems and music inspired by his son, Blaise, to raise money for brain cancer research.

Chris Nelson with his son, Blaise

Chris was moved to fundraise for The Institute of Cancer Research and Brain Tumour Research after his son Blaise was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2018 at the age of six.

Blaise underwent major surgery, chemotherapy and several rounds of radiotherapy but, very sadly, died at the age of seven.

“When Blaise became ill, I knew I had to do something to honour him,” said Chris, “to make sure he had a legacy. Like any parent in my situation, I wanted to make sure that something meaningful came out of what had happened.”

Chris, also known as Chris Jam, was part of Jam MCs, the Manchester duo who performed at the Stone Roses’ iconic Spike Island gig in 1990 and toured with the Happy Mondays in the 1990s.

He started performing spoken word poetry at open mic nights in the 1990s, and has continued to write ever since. He wrote ‘Butterfly Strokes’ not long after Blaise died and ‘Immortals’ shortly after that.

Blaise’s younger sister, Asha, who was just five when he died, has also written a poem about Blaise which will be available to download alongside her father’s.

‘Writing helped me process my grief’

The singles are available to watch on YouTube and download for free from Bandcamp, but donations to the Virgin Money Giving page are encouraged, and Chris hopes that people will be generous with their support.

“I wanted to help fund research into brain tumours,” explained Chris, “but I wasn’t sure what the best way to do that was. Music and poetry is what I know, and what I’m good at, so I thought I should start there. Writing the pieces also helped me process my grief – they were a way of helping me try and make sense of what had happened to Blaise.”

Blaise was initially diagnosed with a low-grade glioma but, despite further investigation, his tumour type was never able to be identified.

Blaise and Asha Nelson

Gliomas in children are not one disease, but are made up of very specific tumour types which may need different treatments. Funds raised by Chris’s EP will support life-changing studies the ICR to classify children’s brain tumours into different types and find new ways of treating each one.

Chris said: “Blaise was such a bright and sensitive boy. He loved a bit of rough and tumble, but there was a really thoughtful and calm side to him. He was hugely popular at school, and was just so full of joy and

 light that everyone warmed to him. Seeing him and Asha together was a truly wonderful thing – they were chalk and cheese but they had such a strong bond that together they created a perfect sibling whole filled with laughter and love. 

Helping other families

“Much more research into brain tumours needs to be done. There’s an urgency for better treatments and for better diagnoses. We were never able to find out exactly what cancer Blaise had – maybe if we’d been able to, it would have helped him.”

Professor Chris Jones said: “We’ve all been incredibly moved by Blaise’s story, and by the hard work Chris has put into creating a lasting legacy for him.

“Our team has made fantastic progress in developing ‘molecular’ tests to get a better understanding of the underlying biology of the different tumour types in gliomas, and we are hopeful of turning our growing understanding into new treatments. The money raised in Blaise’s name will help support our life-changing research, so we can make sure no other families have to go through what Blaise’s has.”

“I know it’s been a really difficult time for everyone recently,” said Chris, “but cancer isn’t going away. We want to do whatever we can to make sure no other families end up in our situation. I really hope people will support such a valuable cause, and that they’ll think of Blaise as they do.”

To listen to the EP, visit: www.chrisjammcr.bandcamp.com

You can donate to Chris’ Virgin Money Giving page here: https://bit.ly/3qUc2wh

If you would like to get involved and support our childhood cancer research, please contact Nicola Shaw in the Development Team, call 020 8722 4227 or email [email protected]

We are an internationally leading research centre in the study of childhood cancers and cancers in children, teenagers and young adults. Our researchers have also been responsible for making breakthrough discoveries in brain cancer.

Our childhood cancer research

Our brain cancer research

 

Images: Top: Chris with his son, Blaise. Middle: Blaise and Asha Nelson. Credit: Chris Nelson.

In this section

Royal Mail worker runs half marathon in father's memory Go-karting enthusiast organises 10th anniversary race in honour of his friend Team ICR steps up to help Carina ICR research hub named in honour of Artemis Wood Manchester father releases EP to fundraise in son’s honour Suffolk farmer flies 7,750 miles in home-built plane to raise money for charity Librarian closes chapter on another charity challenge Inspirational young woman smashes target of raising £21K for the ICR before 21st birthday Marathon runner dedicates each mile to someone who had died from cancer Breast cancer survivor keeps running as a legacy to her father Abbie’s Army join #teamICR for the London Marathon Runner inspired by friend takes her place in #teamICR Fast friends run half marathon around London’s greatest landmarks Great North Run 2018 And I would run 500 miles… for cancer research Matt rode 250km across Norway and Sweden on a husky sled to live by his late grandfather’s mantra Marika set to run three marathons in a month for The ICR despite her incurable breast cancer Caroline trains for the London Marathon to regain her fitness following cancer treatment Joining #teamICR has motivated James through his training for the London Marathon Make John Proud – raising money for male breast cancer research Sian Baker: the reason I cycled 100 miles Dave World takes on a very special challenge in memory of his Mum