Tom Cochrane and his band members with Donna Mair. (Contributed)

Vernon breast cancer survivor collects famous bands’ guitar strings for charity

The seven-year Vernon resident is auctioning 54-40 drum sticks from Rock the Lake

A Saskatoon native who lived in Vernon for seven years was diagnosed with stage three and four breast cancer and underwent six months of chemotherapy in 2006.

It led to the Sam Roberts Band, Tom Cochrane, Aaron Pritchett, Bif Naked, the Trews, Dallas Smith, 54-40, Shinedown, Collective Soul, Billy Talent, Randy Bachman and many other internationally acclaimed bands and musicians posing with a little, home-knitted “comfort doll.”

“I would’ve had no treatment (if I lived anywhere but Canada) and because I had stage three and stage four breast cancer, I probably wouldn’t have survived it,” said Donna Mair, who has since been cancer-free for 12 years.

The care and treatment Mair received at the peak of her health issues made her sympathize with others around the world who don’t have access to the same quality of treatment.

READ MORE: Resident satisfaction high in Lake Country

“Instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for myself — which was very easy to do — I decided to try and find a way to give back for the amount of stuff that I had, the treatment I got and how good my life was,” Mair said.

So Mair knitted comfort dolls, asked bands through social media or management to pose with them and later auctioned off the pictures to people and donated the money to a World Vision for children living in third-world countries.

As the novelty of the band photos wore off, Mair decided she needed to change ideas.

She began asking for used guitar strings from these bands and created jewelry out of them, eventually selling the merchandise for charity.

The biggest challenge is to to reach the band’s fans, according to Mair.

However, sometimes bands shared her social media posts and sales blow up.

“My phone literally dinged so many times that the battery died within an hour,” Mair said of when Papa Roach lead guitarist Jerry Horton advertised her charity on his platforms.

“I made two hundred bracelets in three weeks.”

Her wish list of artists to receive strings from is topped by U2 and followed by the Foo Fighters and Billy Idol.

Currently, she has guitar strings from Sam Roberts, Tom Cochrane, the Glorious Sons, Big Sugar, Stephen Fearing and others.

Mair said she is thankful for all the bands who took the time to be a part of her journey — and not for the publicity but because they truly believed in her vision.

READ MORE: Fuhr, Gray weigh-in on Trudeau’s SNC-Lavalin investigation

READ MORE: ‘No snowflakes here!’: Rain doesn’t Rock the Lake

“If it wasn’t for the cancer, a lot of the bands I had met probably would not have treated me as gently at the beginning,” Mair said, sharing that her and Bif Naked went through cancer at nearly the same time and ended up bonding and becoming friends during their time of struggle.

Mair turned 57 this year and saw Tom Cochrane at the recent Rock The Lake festival on her birthday.

She said after years of struggling with cancer, she is finally comfortable with who she is and how her life has changed.

“It’s taken me 10 years to feel like I’m almost back to normal.”

Matt Johnson, 54-40’s drummer, gifted her with his pair of drum sticks from his gig at Rock The Lake on Aug. 10 and Mair will auction them as a fundraising initiative.

Mair currently lives in Nakusp.

For more information and updates, visit the comfortdollproject on Instagram or comfortdollproject.com.


@davidvenn_
David.venn@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Pair of Rockets added to NHL team’s prospect showcase

Kelowna’s Kyle Topping and Lief Mattson were added to the Carolina Hurricanes prospect roster

B.C. Culture Days hits Kelowna next month

The event will offer a variety of free activities in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country

Vernon man facing drug trafficking charges in Kelowna

The man was found with suspected cocaine, heroin and fentanyl and thousands of dollars in cash

Lawyers to hold pro bono ‘advice-a-thon’ in Kelowna’s City Park

Free legal advice will be given to low-income Kelowna residents from 10am-2pm on Sept. 10

Hell’s Angel prospect back in custody after being charged with assault

The 30-year-old man now faces several additional charges

Grass fire breaks out on highway south of Vernon

Highway 97 traffic slowed as firefighters snuff grass fire

Summerland relaunches net metering program

Event open house will be held Aug. 27 from 3 to 6 p.m in Arena Banquet Room

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Jaws of Life used to rescue driver in North Okanagan crash

Single-vehicle MVI causes traffic delays on Highway 6

Forests minister visits B.C. town hit by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Preliminary inquiry set for accused Penticton killer

John Brittain, 68, will be back in Penticton court from Jan. 27 to 31

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

Most Read