The Voice hopeful Melissa thanks Sunderland for support

Melissa Cavanagh is appearing on this Saturday's The Voice.

Melissa Cavanagh is appearing on this Saturday's The Voice.

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The Voice hopeful Melissa Cavanagh says she’s been overwhelmed by Sunderland’s support – and her audition hasn’t even been aired yet.

In yesterday’s Echo we revealed how the 25-year-old from Ashbrooke will appear on Saturday’s show for a blind audition in front of coaches Paloma Faith, Boy George, Ricky Wilson and Will.i.am.

The budding star says she’s been overwhelmed by the response.

“I filmed the show in September so I’ve had to keep it a secret since then, even though I’ve been dying to tell people,” she said.

“Since yesterday’s story I’ve had hundreds of messages and texts from people, it’s been so overwhelming.”

Melissa’s passion for performing was fuelled by the trauma of being diagnosed with cancer when she was a teenager.

Aged 13, she underwent an eight-month course of chemotherapy after doctors discovered she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Beating the disease made her appreciate the opportunities life throws at her even more.

She juggles her job at a claims management company with performing in amateur musical theatre productions, and singing at charity concerts to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust. “It made me realise that if you’ve got a passion for something you shouldn’t think about what can go wrong, you should focus on what can go right,” she said.

Saturday’s show will see Melissa perform to the backs of the coaches, who will turn round if they are interested in working with her.

She said: “I’ve been applying for The Voice since it began five years and finally I got through to this series.

“I had it in my mind that I wasn’t going to focus on the coaches, that I was going to get lost in the song.

“But when I started singing all I could think about was those chairs. Each of the coaches has something I respect about them in different ways.”

l Find out if Melissa makes it through to the next stage on BBC1 on Saturday at 7.45pm.