I have been so fortunate in the performing arts business to have the opportunity to play music at wonderful venues. From restaurants and listening rooms to all kinds of bars, I have always been proud to take the stage, no matter how big or small, and represent the venue with live music for a few hours. But the most touching, heart warming gig I have been offered came from a close friend a few months ago.
Tara Newton is a Florida girl with an amazing, busy life full of work, friends, live music, family and an amazing boyfriend. Like all of us, Tara's memory bank is full of names: Her parent's names, friends, pets, family members and more. But there is one name in particular that is very close to her memory bank in more ways than one; and it's a name that most would never need to come up with.
'Timmy' is the name of Tara's Diffuse Astrocytoma Grade II brain tumor. This brain tumor was miraculously discovered through imaging after a car accident on an October 2011 morning. No one ever wishes to be in a car accident. But in Tara's case, if it wasn't for the accident, Timmy wouldn't have been discovered, and the situation would have grown more and more dire with each passing year. As a 26 year old woman, the last thing one would think Tara has to deal with is a brain tumor.
In line with Tara's strong, faith-driven personality, she decided to meet the tumor head on(no pun intended) and have it removed. Though the surgery is complex and invasive, this will be the best way to give Tara the quality of life every young woman deserves.
When reading her personal blog, Facebook page, and in talking to her, I can't help but reflect on my own medical journey. When I was a young teenager I was diagnosed, after years of testing and confusing, false diagnosis, with Appendicitis and a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst. During that journey, I also creatively named the mass causing me so much pain. The Dixie Chicks song 'Goodbye Earl' had come out years before and became a huge hit. In a fit of morphine induced creativity one evening during an E.R. visit, I named my pain, 'Earl.'
Not only did naming my pain open up a channel of communication with the condition, but it also made it personable. So, I was a little less angry with it being inside my body.
Needless to say, Tara's ordeal is not lacking in expenses. So, on Saturday, April 21st, only days before her operation, her wonderful parents are hosting a charity yard sale at an Orange Park church in order to raise money for the surgery. I have the up most honor and privilege of performing a few sets of covers and original music during the event. There will be plenty of items to look at and a lot going on so come on out to Calvary United Methodist Church(112 Blanding Blvd. Orange Park, FL 32073) this Saturday between 7 am and 3 pm and support an event that is for a very important cause. I will be performing from 12 pm to 3 pm.
Tara is the kind of person that doesn't carry the term 'defeat' in her vocabulary. Though many people might be scared of 'Timmy,' Timmy is actually the one that should really be scared of Tara. With faith, family, friends, and supporters all rallying on her side, I know she is going to take the phrase, 'I have a tumor,' and turn it into the phrase, 'I had a tumor.' There is truth to the saying ' God doesn't give you more than you can handle.' It just so happens, Tara can handle much more than most of us ever could.
So I will leave you with the words I spoke right before my abdominal surgery when I was 13. In the lyrics of The Dixie Chicks song, instead of saying, 'Goodbye Earl,' let us certainly say, with all of our hearts:
For more info on Tara's Charity Yard Sale Event, click here.
To read more about Tara's journey with Timmy, visit her personal blog here.