West Lothian radio host with terminal cancer fulfils dream of interviewing Lorraine Kelly
A disc jockey who was given just two years to live after being diagnosed with terminal cancer has fulfilled a long-held dream – interviewing Lorraine Kelly.
Derek Francis was first diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and received extensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy before getting the all clear.
However, in January 2020, tests confirmed the 53-year-old’s cancer had returned and spread to his chest.
Health professionals then hit Mr Francis with the shocking news that the cancer was now terminal.
When the pandemic hit, Mr Francis was forced to shield and unable to meet with anyone.
The online radio DJ, who hails from West Lothian but now lives in York, said the year following his diagnosis was a lonely one, but his radio show and his beloved dog, Milo, kept his spirits up.
He said: “Lockdown has been an incredibly lonely time, I had just been told I had two years left to live just before the pandemic struck and then it was just me and Milo. It is really tough just watching the clock tick away.”
Mr Francis recently interviewed Dame Laura Lee, co-founder and Chief Executive of cancer support charity Maggie’s, the cancer charity he is using his radio show to support.
“When I got the chance to host the radio show, I just had a strong urge to use whatever time I have left to spread happiness, to overcome loneliness, to raise awareness of living with cancer, to help promote Maggie’s cancer charity and to leave a legacy.”
Mr Francis’s Sunday Show on Incapable Staircase online radio station is a mixture of music requests and interviews, but Derek does not shy away from talking about his cancer diagnosis.
Originally, Mr Francis was invited onto the radio station as a guest to talk about his life in show business and his cancer diagnosis.
Within days, hundreds of people had contacted the station to praise Mr Francis for his openness when discussing his diagnosis.
The buzz led to station bosses asking if he wanted his own show, which Mr Francis duly accepted.
During the show Mr Francis talks about the amazing work conducted by the Maggie’s charity to help fellow cancer patients.
Mr Francis has invited a few well-known names on to chat about their lives, such as Miriam Margolyes, and close friends: Coronation Street’s Sue Devaney, and BAFTA winner Sue Pollard. He has also had chats with Broadway legend Betty Buckley.
But for Mr Francis there was one famous name that topped the lot – Scots television presenter Lorraine Kelly.
Mr Francis said: “I have always loved Lorraine, she is so full of fun and mischief. I was so delighted when she agreed to be on my show.
“We talked about everything, from being Scottish to sitting on her famous sofa, and of course about my cancer.
"She was an absolute delight – my only other dream now is to get to sit on her sofa.”
Mr Francis continues to chatter away on his radio show every Sunday between 2:30pm-4pm.