Meet the Chislehurst man who says magic helped him overcome testicular cancer
11:54 11 January 2016
Neil Edwards, 39, is giving up his career to become a professional magician
A Chislehurst magician has told the story of how his love of magic has driven him to beat testicular cancer and now pack in his career to perform full time.
Neil Edwards, 39, worked in a media archive for a business news channel, but has now taken the bold step of leaving a secure job to pursue professional magic.
He said: “Giving up my job scares the hell out of me but I want to follow my dream and it’s something I would always regret if I didn’t do it.
“Everyone has been extremely supportive of my decision - not a single person has said ‘you shouldn’t do this,’ if anything they’ve said ‘it’s about time.’”
Mr Edwards’ passion for magic didn’t stem from childhood, but rather the way it kept him occupied when receiving chemotherapy after being diagnosed with testicular cancer at university.
“I was lucky because my survival chances were 98 per cent but it was still a really difficult time,” he said.
“The overriding emotion was probably boredom. At 19, you just want to go out and do things but with the cancer you can’t go very far and have to be careful.
“While in the hospital, a friend bought me a cheap, plastic magic set, which consisted of three little egg cups and three sponge balls and I just became obsessed playing with them.
“A joke present has essentially brought me to where I am now.
“I had all this time and magic was my escape, and if it wasn’t for this whole situation I wouldn’t be doing what I am today.”
While Mr Edwards says he admires the glamorous show-stopping acts performed by the likes of David Blaine, Dynamo and Derren Brown, he says he’s more comfortable performing up close and personal.
“The buzz is from the reaction – the look in the person’s eye where they don’t believe what they’ve just seen is an incredible feeling.
“I never get bored of seeing someone’s jaw drop, or their eyes pop out.
“But the stunts are not my cup of tea - there are certainly no plans for me to be swinging from the QEII bridge any time soon.”