Edinburgh Festival Fringe show is a dream come true for man with terminal illness

A Scot has revealed how a terminal cancer diagnosis has freed him from depression in a book he’s written to encourage others to make the most of their lives. 

Duncan Campbell hopes his autobiographical book, The Suicide Notes, which he will launch with a one-man show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe show this month, will give others suffering depression the new lease on life he’s experienced. 

The aspiring writer, actor and poet was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer in February 2021. 

Duncan, who lives in Glasgow, is now preparing for his one man show at Gladstone’s Land in Edinburgh from 14 to 25 August. 

During the spoken word performance, 30-year-old Duncan will share lessons learned from his experience.

‘This book gives an unfiltered insight into my mind going through depression, being diagnosed with terminal cancer, and finding happiness,’ said Duncan. 

‘I have a moral obligation to tell my story, as it can help people who are going through depression. 

‘And far too many people are going through that – suicide is the biggest killer of young men.

“The book is going to help people understand what their friend might be going through, which could help them save a life. 

‘For people who care about somebody they think might be struggling, it’s hard to have that conversation. 

‘I hope my legacy can be to make it a bit easier for those conversations to start. 

‘I don’t know what I can do while I’m still alive to prevent people from experiencing terminal cancer, but I do hope the book and my show can help to prevent people from committing suicide.’

Duncan has been through around 20 MRIs, surgery on his brain, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After surgery, he was in a wheelchair for more than two months. 

He learned to walk again using the AlterG machine – used by Andy Murray to return from injury. 

Duncan, who played for GHK Rugby Club prior to his diagnosis, added: ‘The diagnosis has woken me up. It has encouraged me to make the most of every single second. 

‘Before my diagnosis, I was constantly criticising myself; when I tried to plan for the future, I was overcome with anxiety. 

‘Now, I live in the present, as I have no other choice. I’ve got a terminal disease so there’s a rational reason to feel down, but in a strange way it allows me to stop worrying. 

‘It shouldn’t have taken a diagnosis to free myself from the mental pain which stopped me from living my life. 

‘I suffered from depression from the age of 15. My brain was attacking itself. It knew all my weaknesses, shortcomings and fears.

‘It was picking me apart every second of every day.  

‘Now I’ve found a route to happiness; being able to share my story and help others has given me a purpose which has helped to overcome depression.

‘I am so lucky to have the chance to be able to do two things I’ve always dreamed of; performing at the Fringe and publishing a book. 

‘I never thought these things would happen to me. I was set on suicide. Depression is a really draining way of existing. I didn’t have the energy to have a good time.’

The aspiring actor will launch his book with a one-man-show at the Edinburgh Fringe.  

The spoken word performance will run from 14 to 25 August at Gladstone’s Land.

Tickets are available HERE.

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