This is Angie's story.
I got to know her on MySpace. At the time I thought she was alive, though struggling with a persistent form of bone cancer. I sent a couple of E-Mails back and forth before I came to realize I had missed her passing by mere weeks. She succumbed to her cancer in BC Children s Hospital three weeks before her 18th birthday. I miss her, though I never got to meet her. As you read on, so will you.
Though her story is now part of history, there are thousand's of others who are in this fight, including her best friend Megan. British Columbia has, thanks to donations & other concerned entities, embarked on a $90M Hospital Expansion to better serve the million children in British Columbia.
Angie would have been twenty this last May 2nd. There's more to see at her MySpace page, which has passed 87,800 friends and is updated by her father, Rob Pirog. But don't just visit, get involved however you can throuth links hare and other sources you may already know about. There are lot's of Foundation Events throughout the year, as well to benefit this great Hospital's work, like the annual "Grouse Grind For Kids", described as follows:
Grind For Kids is in its second year and leverages the enthusiasm of the thousands of people in the Lower Mainland that do the Grouse Grind™ on a regular basis. People sign up and ask friends, family and co-workers pledge $1 or more for every Grouse Grind they do between June and September. At the end of the season participants will share their success with the people who have pledged them and request they fulfill their pledges.
Last year 4535 Grouse Grinds counted towards BC Children’s Hospital & $172,000 was raised!
How It Works
With your $20 registration fee, you will get an official Grind For Kids Timer Card at Grouse Mountain Guest Services. Simply swipe the timer at the base of the Grind before you start and at the top when you finish. You will be able to go to your personal donation page to track your progress at any time!
Enjoy complimentary bag-check service, which means your bag will be waiting for you at the top when you finish the Grind!
You will also be eligible for weekly prizes. The more Grinds you do, the better your odds of winning!
Angie Pirog: “If You Really Knew Me”
But this week, I’m taking an emotional turn, as well as an appeal. The entire article is devoted to one bright talented (plays ALL of the instruments on some of the songs on her “MySpace” Player) She died in July of this year after a 19 month battle with Bone Cancer. I’m including many of her own and her father, Ron Pirog’s, words.
Through all of it she pesented a poitive hopeful face to the world, she sang with a spirit of joy in her songs, and while sometimes in intense pain, she reached out with love aand a genuimely sweet spirit to all those around her.
Her incredible courage, her zest for life, and her positive strength should encourage us all to reach out more, love more deeply, and be grateful for each day we awaken into as the gift it truly is. I’m saddened that I never got to know her, and if you have a heart in your chest and blood in your veins, you WILL feel the same way after you get to know her a little.
Then I challenge you to reach out. If you know someone going through something like this, go spend some quality time with them. You WILL likely feel uncomfortable, but beyond dealing with the pain, the sense of isolation is the hardest part of have a devastating disease like Cancer, especially when you’re still young. You can also volunteer to be a Bone Marrow or Blood Donor. Neither of these were used in treating Angie’s Cancer, it was very aggressive, so more aggressive therapies were in order. There is Research that can be funded for Bone Cancer, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation needs your help more than ever. I will provide links to all of these Organizations along with Angie’s Links at the end of this article.
Angie Pirog: “If You Really Knew Me”
If you really knew me, you'd know that my name is not in fact Angie Pirog, but Angelica Gavrielle Beaulieu Pirog.
If you really knew me, you'd know that every single day after I return home from school, I go straight to the piano bench, plop down, play guitar, and sing. I must do that for at least an hour everyday. Whether it is the guitar, drums, or piano, playing music seems to be the only thing that keeps me sane.
If you really knew me, you'd know that I have a huge fear of failing. Although I generally appear to be loud and insane, I am really actually quite an introverted person. I am constantly worried that I will let down not just myself, but mostly others, especially my family. All I want my family to do is accept the person I've become.
If you really knew me, you'd know that I am afraid my knee will never get better, and that I will never be able to dance again, and dancing is a huge part of my life. Although deep inside I know that my knee will heal eventually, I have this dominating worry that it will be my biggest roadblock. I guess I took my knee for granted all these years. I never realized just how much it has done for me up until now--it's been so painful lately, that I wake up in the middle of the night, only to feel it throbbing after the ibuprofen has left my system.
If you really knew me, you'd know that I have a tendency to forgive too easily. Sometimes I pretend that I'm holding a grudge against someone, but I can never stay with it, even when I am pretending. Forgiving people too easily has gotten me nowhere, I've found. I wish I didn't depend on others so much.
If you really knew me, you'd know that I grew up in a household of 6 channels. I rarely watched TV as a child and even now, I still don't watch much. My parents never got cable, so I spent most of my time drawing, writing strange stories, or, of course, playing the piano. I guess having no TV paid off, because now I have a wide and vast range of hobbies, such as calling random people from the phonebook and having conversations with them, and baking cookies.
And if you really knew me, you'd know that I either over think things, or under think them. I either analyze a situation to the point where it makes absolutely no sense, or I do something irrational and stupid, such as jumping off a shed roof with a beach umbrella.
So there you have it, that's me.
Following words are from Angie’s Myspace profile..as
dedication to her…( I mean not to get appraise or monetary gain, just a
dedication to little angel )
Hey, I'm Angie and I'm 17 [oh yes]. I've been playing
music for as long as I can remember. I play the piano, guitar, drums and bass.
And probably some other obscure instruments such as the glockenspiel. I write
my own music, and, um, I enjoy long walks on the beach and coke [the drink, not
the drug...well, perhaps it could be drunk as well, but that's beside the
point] I love getting messages and being added as a friend [hint hint] MUCH
As you may have heard, I was diagnosed back in December
with bone cancer. The pain and swelling in my knee turned out to be a large
tumor on my femur bone. They also found a small tumor on my spine [the T-10]
and small amounts in my pelvis, shin bone and lungs. I lost all the feeling in
my legs after only being in the hospital for one week. I was stuck at the
hospital for 6 months without one visit home [honestly!] and now I'm back at
home for the time being. Apparently, I'm almost done my chemo, and i may not
have to have anymore, depending on the results of my next test. I've regained
the feelings back in my legs, but about 2 months ago they had to remove half of
my right leg due to the size and aggressiveness of the tumor there. So now I'm
just waiting for my prosthetic leg so I can learn to walk with it....the muscle
in my other leg is still not strong enough for me to use crutches or stand, so
I'm just wheeling around. That's a bit of my story so far, wish you all well,
Band Members- Angelica
Gavrielle Beaulieu Pirog [Angie Pirog] - vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, piano,
music in general, well written poetry, celtic music, Sarah McLaghan, Jewel,
City and Colour, Nirvana
Sounds Like-Angie Pirog?
Where? by Angie Pirog (2005)
somewhere out there
they dance all day
the kites they fly
don't fly away
the bees don't sting,
the apples don't rot,
only good memories
are what they've got
dreams of change
dreams of laughter
first is before
yet before comes after
the kite we fly
will fly away
the bees we have
will sting anyway
oh don't cry a river, the bridge isn't built
the world will keep spinning
stop has no meaning
it's only a word
Angie Pirog has passed away
Hi. This is Angie's father (Rob). I'm very sorry to tell you that Angie passed away earlier this evening ending her 19 month struggle with cancer. She died at home with her family close by. Her final hours were peaceful and relatively pain free and she maintained her incredible inner strength throughout these past few days.
After reviewing Angie's MySpace inbox earlier today I discovered dozens of messages that she never had the energy to read or respond to these last 9 or 10 months (since she was selected as MySpace's blogger of the week). Many of them were heartfelt and very touching to say the least. I suspect that Angie may have found it too difficult to read or respond to some of your messages.
Angie's MySpace listeners and blog subscribers are a very special group and her family here really appreciates all of the correspondence that helped Angie get through these past 19 months. There are numerous cancer stories, inspirational comments, incredible words of praise and musical offers. Thank you.
Angie's last words weren't prophetic. She was in a dream like state of mind at times and blurted out some pretty weird things. "I want to live in a teacup, like the ones at Disneyland" is my favourite. Her saddest words were "no one will remember me". We didn't discuss death or funerals or anything like that in the days and weeks leading up to Angie's passing as it was clearly too stressful for her. She watched a lot of past seasons of CSI with her family when she could stay awake and that was pretty much it.
Since her last blog after returning from her Make-A-Wish cruise vacation, Angie managed to attend most of her high school graduation functions even though she was in considerable pain with increasing metastases throughout her body.
Angie has 2 different Facebook accounts. The one that she was actively using was under Angelica Gavrielle Beaulieu Pirog. We will try to update it if we can figure out her password. Her sister Julia and I have facebook accounts as well. Again, thank you everyone here on MySpace. Angie loves each and every one of you. Her loving dad, Rob
As you can see, there was another Champion through all this, on who loved her so much, he wanted to share her with the world, rather than hide her in grief. He wanted others to discover all that she was, and through our eyes of love and appreciation her life continues to touch the heart of this old cold world. Hear now her Father's most recent Blog:
Angie Has More To Offer
Angie's dad (Rob) once again here.
First of all, I guess that I need to let all of you know, (who have been reading Angie's blogs and listening to her music here on MySpace), that I will "maintain" her account by adding some of Angie's creative output every so often. Last night I figured out how to post an additional song and a few hours ago I managed to upload a couple of her videos as well. Not bad for an old fart like me!
Moreover, I've realized over the last couple of weeks that there is a lot more of Angie that can easily be shared on-line. More music (original and cover tunes), poems, short stories, letters, artwork, videos, photography and so on. I know that Angie would want people to remember her fondly and as her very proud father it only makes sense that I should find the time to keep her connected in cyberspace. I'll do my best.
I've also been reminded through Angie's MySpace and related inboxes that cancer patients and people affected by cancer from around the world have shared their stories and been touched by Angie's teenaged honesty and willingness to discuss her "journey". Sadly, however, I never knew that Angie didn't always have the energy or time to eventually respond to everyone, particularly during these last 6 months, and that some very heartfelt messages were left unanswered. Let me assure all of those lovely souls that Angie did in fact read all of her messages up until late-June and she was moved by many of those emails. I remember specific letters where she just couldn't put together a worthy reply, asked me for advice, and/or cried instead. Sometimes she just didn't want to check her emails.
The sheer number of people who have still been reading Angie's blogs lately (over a thousand readers last week) also made me realize that any further effort on my part would be worthwhile and appreciated. Her last blog (June 1st), for example, I discovered earlier today, is currently listed as the 56th most read blog within MySpace Canada (Paris Hilton's blog was 50th). In sharp contrast, I remember a frustrated Angie ending one of her blogs a year ago or so with ..."Does anybody read my blogs?"
Also, the issue of music downloading and CD "sales" has come up a number of times in messages. I'll look into the I-Tunes options as well as the MySpace service and figure out what to do as soon as I can. Of course, any future proceeds will go to Angie's school (charity) because over $30,000 was already raised in several events last year in Angie's name that went to children's oncology and cancer research charities.
Don't be afraid to let me know if there is a specific question that you would like me to answer regarding Angie's illness or her talents. I may blog about such things later on.
And finally, thanks again for all of the kind words since Angie passed away. Knowing that Angie through her music and writing has affected many people across the world has made grieving a little bit easier.
And thanks Ang, for keeping me busy with all of that creative energy that you converted into art. There's no shortage of memories (on the hard drive or elsewhere) and wallowing in fatherly pride is so much nicer than the alternative right now.
If reading this all makes you shed a few tears, I'm not surprised. When I read she had already died, I cried like a baby. We weren't related. I'd never met her beyond the confines of MySpace-and that mostly in her Play List, Two Videos, and Pictures, as these are the things I've always looked through in preparing to write about any Artist.
Anyone who REALLY knows me, understands I can glean a lot about someone from doing what I just described. I am an Artist. At an early age I was doing portraits, and learned to really see the depth of my subjects by looking at their expressions. Angie had A LOT of depth to see, as finally reading what her and her Father, Rob, had written there.
He called her his Angel, but she was here to reach and teach all of us. There are important lessons about our own Humanity we may learn by getting to know her and her wonderful Dad. I hope you all look at her writings, listen to he music, and watch her on Video. Pay special attention to the "3 AM" Video. In it shes singing and playing while in the British Columbia Childrens Hospital, time uncertain. She pours out her heart and soul into that song. If you're familiar with it, it was penned by Rob Thomas about his Mother. She had Cancer and was having difficulties with her own Chemotherapy, which caused her to wake up at 3 AM and be unable to fall back to sleep.
Should we be surprised, knowing this little Lady's great heart, that she would be thinking of someone else in song,while her on life was in such turmoil, even to her "entertaining" the children she shared the Oncology Center with?
That was what Angie was all about. She never stopped sharing or caring throughout her times of trouble. She touched my life forever. I could never forget her...none of us should.
This was the sixth installment of the Weekly Music Article, “The Arts Are Global”.
Why do I persist? There are two primary reasons. First I like the Music and the Communities it fosters. The Musicians and Artists involved are beholding to the audience-period. Their “Fans” are more ‘Friends and Family’, concerts are more like extended family gatherings, the sniping and character assassination that tends to go with the “Pop Music Scene”, we, as Americans, are more familiar with, while not completely absent, is difficult to find among these people. They work on each other’s projects, play together, and in one case below, the “Fans” actually felt so strongly about the Music, they financed a complete album project.
But there’s something else. Unlike the “Recording Star”, ‘Indie’ Artists in all the media types they’re found at work in are Small Businesses. They must supply most of what is needed to do business. They sell a lot on the Internet. While they have “Labels”, Distribution, and “Spin-Off” Products, much like the “Recording Stars”, often these services are provided by other Independent Small Businesses.
No one has bothered to number how many of these “Cottage Art Businesses” there are planet-wide, but there are MANY, and the numbers are increasing exponentially everyday-everywhere, even here in the US & North America.
It’s an idea, the American people ought to become more familiar with, as we’ve reached an economic slump that’s really beginning to feel like “The Valley Of The Shadow”.
Let’s be honest, for most of remembered time, Musicians, Artists, Writers, and Craftsmen have never been highly esteemed by the communities they existed in. But here we are, it appears they’re on the leading edge of an Economic and Cultural Renaissance in which they are SUCCEEDING. Maybe it’s time we started paying more attention to them, and not only to WHAT they’re doing, but HOW they’ve been doing it, often in spite of the established businesses around them.
I’m going to keep mixing in new genres, as well as other types of Media other than Music in this Column.