A singing inspiration
Artist becomes cancer-free, helps support Hope project
APaying it forward
ngela Mary Butler, 18, a Level III student at Mount Pearl Senior High School and an avid photographer, has lived to tell the story of her experience with Lymphoma Hodgkin’s stage 3B cancer.
Angela was diagnosed on May 11, 2009 with a cancer that affects the lymphatic system/lymph nodes. However, regardless of the diagnosis, she remained positive she would make a full recovery.
“Honestly, it really didn’t bother me that much,” she said. “I went through the whole thing with a smile from the beginning, and that’s how I ended it off as well. Everyone told me it was because of me that everybody else was able to deal with my diagnosis, without stressing themselves out too much.
“I was always laughing, and smiling. Everyone told me, that if they hadn’t of known me they would never know I was even sick, because I had such high spirits and I always took such a positive approach to it.”
That positive attitude is what Angela attributes to her cancer free diagnosis on Oct. 5, 2009. Right now, Angela said she is feeling absolutely fine.
“I now have an over 80 average in school, and I’m still working at McDonalds, and managing time for everything else too,” she said. Dean Stairs of Little Known Artists Studio approached Angela to be part of the “One Person At A Time” CD in aid of The Janeway Foundation through a letter.
Angela sings “Happy” on the second release in the “Hope In The Midst Of A Storm” series, a Supporting Hope fundraiser for the Janeway Hospital.
“He was doing some research looking for pictures of the old Janeway for the Hope project and while he was searching for these images he came across my photography website,” said Angela. “I brought my camera everywhere I went, and that didn’t change when I was diagnosed with cancer. During my visits home I would always upload the pictures I took at the Janeway hospital to my website, so everyone else could follow my journey, and they did.”
Angela said Stairs and his family dropped off a care package for her at the Janeway during her treatments and it went from there.
“Dean goes back and forth from Lewisporte to St. John’s all the time for business purposes, and he always visits the Janeway hospital,” said Angela. “So, when he came to visit, he dropped a package off to the head oncology nurse, Gale Roberts, for me. In the package was homemade cards from Dean, his wife, and his nine kids wishing me well and letting me know they follow my photo blog online and they were thinking of me.
“He also included a few other things like chocolate, and an iTunes card, because on my photo stream was a picture of me with a guitar and an iPod so he knew I liked music.”
Angela and Stairs began messaging each other via Flickr and have grown to be great friends.
“After much discussion, Dean learned more about me and found out that I’m heavily involved in music,” said Angela. “For my entire life I have been in piano lessons and have taken voice lessons. I’ve played guitar, drums, and I know quite a lot about musical theory.”
Angela was also a member of the Mount Pearl Show Choir for approximately four years and was excited when Stairs asked her to participate in the volunteer musical project.
“It just seemed to fit,” she said. “ Working with Dean is simply amazing. Dean is a family man, but he is also a working man and a very hard working man. He knows how to get the job done in a timely manner and his patience is unbelievable.
“His No. 1 concern in the studio is his clients, how they feel about what they are doing and how they are feeling in general. Dean is amazing at what he does, He’s one of a kind.”
Angela said it was also a great experience to work with four musicians from Planet Rock School of Music including Carlynn O’Keefe, Emily MacDonald, Sophie Bartlett and Allie Smith.
"They’re all great,” she said. “So fun-loving, comfortable and just a joy to work with.”
Receiving treatments in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia during her battle with cancer, Angela said the CD supports a very worthwhile initiative.
“Not only is it for a wonderful cause, but the songs on it are wonderful, too,” she said. “ There are a great variety of singers and songwriters, and bands from all different genres, which can appeal to just about anyone. It really is a great soundtrack.
“Anything that can help the Janeway or cancer treatments is fantastic,” she said. “ The staff at the Janeway is like no other. They are absolutely amazing. Without them, I don’t even know what would have happened. They’re just so great.”
Angela said she will continue to support The Janeway Foundation in their quest to help patients win their fight with cancer.
“ Whenever there is an opportunity for me to help the Janeway or the Cancer Society/cancer research — I will,” she said. “ Whether it’s singing a song on a CD, hosting or organizing a Shave For The Brave event at my high school, which we raised about $1,500, or simply putting my change in a donation box — I will.”
Angela Butler recording “Happy” at Little Known Artists Studio in Lewisporte for the “One Person At A Time” CD in support of the Janeway Foundation.
Angela Butler was diagnosed with Lymphoma Hodgkin’s Stage 3B cancer on May 11, 2009, and documented her entire journey on her website www.flickr.com/angelamarybutler.