A singing in­spi­ra­tion

Artist be­comes can­cer-free, helps sup­port Hope project

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - OUR PROVINCE - BY PAM SNOW

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.”

— Photo cour­tesy of An­gela But­ler

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.

— Photo cour­tesy of An­gela But­ler

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.

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