A Mittagong woman is set to test her talents on national television.
Shortly after her initial audition in 2013, Michelle Cashman was diagnosed with fibromyalgia disease, a chronic pain illness.
Cashman, 35, said she had just completed her self-produced EP and performed one gig, when she became extremely sick.
“Pursuing my dreams was just not an option anymore,” Cashman said.
“I didn’t have the energy. Everything was moved from my plate, right down to my social life. It’s unpredictable. You have good days and bad days and you just don’t know when they’re going to be.”
“It made it very difficult to lock in gigs because I hate letting people down, but that’s what was happening.”
The illness drove Cashman to stop singing and she found it a struggle to get out of bed as a result of the debilitating pain.
With the advice of her doctor to start singing again, Cashman regained the spark she once had for music.
“I hadn’t performed gigs for ages. I wasn’t even listening to the radio because I was so sad about not being able to do it,” she said.
“But, I had been working on my health. Fibromyalgia doesn’t have a standard treatment program. In most cases they say it’s just going to get worse.
“I ended up finding a naturopath to work with and getting my vitamins up to optimal level, along with completely changing my diet and lifestyle, and adding in exercise, but when your whole entire body is in chronic pain, it’s difficult to do that.”
Cashman said she will take on The Voice with a different approach.
“I really want to soak up every moment of it,” she said.
“That’s the biggest thing. Even the last time I auditioned, it was such a ginormous buzz even though I didn’t turn a chair.
“Knowing full well that I might not turn a chair again, I just really wanted to make sure that while I was on that stage, I was really in the moment.”
Cashman said she wanted to turn a chair not only for herself, but for her son, Jack, and her stepchildren Abbey and Pheobe.
“I think it’s so important that your kids know that life throws challenges at you and you don’t let them beat you,” Cashman said through tears.
“You do what it takes to have the life that you want to have. As a mum, leading by example is everything.”
The Voice will premier on Sunday, April 15 at 7pm, on Channel Nine.
Cashman will perform a song that is close to her heart.
“I could really connect with the lyrics in the song I chose. It is 100 percent my story,” she said.