DEF LEPPARD and LAST IN LINE guitarist Vivian Campbell recently spoke to City Of Hope about his continuing battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed in 2013.
For the past three and a half years, Vivian has been part of a medical trial in Los Angeles, at City of Hope — one of the world’s leading cancer research facilities — being treated with medication called pembrolizumab, which became FDA approved in early 2017.
Campbell, who receives pembrolizumab infusions roughly once a month, said: “Compared to chemo, it’s so easy. I’ve had practically no side effects. The hardest part of it for me to this day continues to be the scheduling, because I travel so much for work.”
Campbell said that his strong constitution and no-nonsense Northern Ireland upbringing were key in not letting cancer get the better of him.
“I consider myself very, very fortunate that I’ve been able to find this treatment that I’ve responded to so well,” he said. “Being able to continue my life and continue my work I think has been a big part of being able to come through all of this. My work is what keeps me alive. My bandmates initially wanted me to stay home and convalesce. I’m stubborn and I’m Irish and I never wanted to do that. I’ve always refused to capitulate to the cancer. I just wanted to give cancer the big middle finger and go on.”
Campbell, who has also performed, toured and worked with legendary artists including THIN LIZZY, DIO, WHITESNAKE, RIVERDOGS and Lou Gramm, went on to say that he feels well and his outlook is positive.
“I’ve always been a glass half-full kind of person, but now with cancer, my glass is brimming,” he said. “You really kind of recalibrate your thinking about each and every day in life. You look at your life a different way and you look at your priorities a different way. It helped me become a better guitar player. It helped me look inward. … It’s just been good for me. I kind of always look at it as when life gives you these sorts of obstacles, you have two choices. You can give in or you can fight, you know?”
Vivian and his DEF LEPPARD bandmates were finally inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on March 29 — 14 years after the British rockers first became eligible.