Singing for a cure

Tara Bradbury
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Dan Hill to return to St. John’s for fundraiser, this time as a prostate cancer survivor

Singer/songwriter Dan Hill knows how it feels to fight prostate cancer. He’s coming back to St. John’s to help raise funds for prostate cancer-related charities. —Submitted photo

“Goosebumps,” says Tara Lehman. “That’s what this concert promises to deliver.”

Goosebumps, awareness, funds and, hopefully, eventually a cure for prostate cancer.

Lehman is co-ordinating an event at the Delta St. John’s hotel Jan. 25, featuring singer/songwriter Dan Hill, as a fundraiser for prostate cancer-related charities.

“Four hundred men a year in Newfoundland are diagnosed with prostate cancer, and that’s a number no one seems to be talking about. It goes unnoticed,” Lehman said.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men, according to Prostate Cancer Canada. One in seven is diagnosed with it.

Hill — a Grammy and JUNO award winner who has written songs for artists like Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Rod Stewart and whose biggest hit was 1977’s “Sometimes When We Touch” — was last in St. John’s two years ago, when he toured in support of his book, “I Am My Father’s Son.” Since then, he’s become a prostate cancer survivor.

Hill was diagnosed with cancer in October 2011, learning of the diagnosis in a phone call from his doctor while backstage in Ontario, 30 minutes from curtain call. He wrote about his testing and diagnosis last year for MacLean’s magazine.

“Within days of my surgery, a pathology of my prostate reveals that only 10 per cent was cancerous and that it was completely confined within the prostate gland. Of my catheter, which leaves me feeling impaled for 17 days, the less said the better,” Hill wrote in this account. “The day after it is removed, I start running. I don’t recommend this — intense activities are discouraged for at least six weeks post-surgery — but it is my way of saying ‘F--k you, cancer.’ I’m still here, kicking and screaming and sucking up life in huge, hungry gasps.”

More than 85 per cent of prostate cancer is curable if detected early, Hill wrote, but it often comes without symptoms.

Since his recovery, Hill has participated in an ad campaign with Prostate Cancer Canada, urging men to speak to their doctors about cancer and have their prostates checked.

In St. John’s, Hill will be performing on stage with local singer Kelly-Ann Evans, with musicians Chris Kirby and Don-E Coady opening the event. Host for the evening will be Erin Sulley of Rogers TV’s “Out of the Fog.”

While in town, Hill is planning to visit residents of Daffodil Place who are undergoing cancer treatment. He’ll also host a songwriters’ workshop alongside Kirby and Denis Parker, giving participants personal feedback on their own demos. The event is free (though only members of the Songwriters Association of Canada can submit demos), and will happen Jan. 26 from 2-5 p.m. Registration will take place online at

Tickets for “Music for Prostate Cancer” range from $55- $85 and are available by contacting Lehman at All proceeds raised from the event will support charities within Newfoundland and Labrador.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: Prostate Cancer Canada, Songwriters Association of Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Ontario

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