This Friday musicians, friends and family of Emma Lee Stewart will gather at Glasgow Square theatre to remember her and to raise money to fight the disease that took her from them. They’d like others to join them.
Jim Stewart is pictured with his late wife Emma Lee Stewart. She passed away in 2011, but an event she started, Reason for Hope, lives on. FILE PHOTO
Emma Lee’s husband Jim Stewart said it was her wish that the event continue after her death and he was busying hanging up posters this week and putting the finishing touches on plans for the sixth annual Reason for Hope fundraising concert.
Emma loved music and shortly before her diagnosis with cancer had completed her own CD. After she received the news though, she took the spot she had booked at the Glasgow Square Theatre for her birthday and decided to use it instead as a way to raise money for cancer-related charities. For the rest of her life it continued. Now, in keeping with her original intent, music will once again take centre stage.
The evening will kick off with international blues performer Alan Gerber. Following Gerber will be Pictou County native Wayne Nicholson, who will be joined by his band The Eastenders comprised of Doug MacKay, Brian Bourne and James Logan,
The evening will continue with New Glasgow’s own Doris Mason. Winding up the evening will be Maple Blues, CCMA and ECMA award winner Matt Minglewood who will be joined by his full band.
This year’s event will mark the second since the passing of Emma Lee. It was her wish that the event continue with its mandate which is to increase public awareness, raise funds and educate in all areas of cancer prevention, awareness and care. Jim said they had tried to hold it last year, but things just didn’t work out.
Since its inception the Reason for Hope has raised in excess of $25,000 for cancer-related initiatives including the Lodge that Gives, Aberdeen Hospital’s Oncology Department, Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute. Funds raised at this year’s Reason for Hope Concert will be directed to Metastatic Breast Cancer Research.
“It was Emma Lee’s wish that fund raising efforts be directed to research in this area as it directly affects approximately 25 per cent of persons diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Jim.
Emma Lee had first been diagnosed with cancer in 2006. She handled that news well though and did everything she could to educate herself and get the best treatment for the disease. As soon as she was able, she joined the Women Abreast A River Dragon Boat team. She took spin classes and worked on a healthy lifestyle.
“She was a doer,” Jim says.
In May 2010 the cancer came back however in the form of Metastatic Breast Cancer – a form that attacks other parts of the body. In spite of the dismal prognosis, Emma didn’t give up. She went to a conference in Indianapolis where she met others with the same type of cancer.
“She met a lot of other people who were going through the same thing as her,” says Jim. “She came back with hope.”
As happy as she was to hear the stories of women who far exceeded the doctors’ predictions, she wouldn’t get the same miracle herself. In September 2011, she passed away. But her work has not ended. It lives on with the Reason for Hope Concert.
“We will celebrate Emma,” Jim said. “If it wasn’t for her this thing wouldn’t exist.”
Want to go?
Tickets are $25 in advance $30 at the door and are on sale in New Glasgow at H&R Music, Glasgow Square Theatre and Yours Trudy and Ticketpro locations or online at ticketpro.ca.