Donna Mair poses with Sam Roberts Band in 2009 with her “Comfort Doll”. (submitted)

Okanagan 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 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 World Vision for children 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 jewellery 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 share 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 Rock the Lake 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

Word on the street: What is your strategy for not spending too much on Christmas gifts this year?

The Observer asked: What is your strategy for not spending too much on Christmas gifts this year?

People who are homeless in Salmon Arm provide consultants with key information

Urban Matters consultants gather information from ‘experts’ as they work on housing strategy

Map points to mysterious ‘Waterdome’ in the middle of Salmon Arm Bay

City would like to have map marker removed, pilot recalls its significance

43-acre property donated in memory of Shuswap man

Land along Eagle River to be named Ken Ritchie Park

Ski with Santa fundraiser and beginner trail opening coming to Larch Hills

Tour of new trail to take place on Dec. 28, followed by annual Lantern Ski

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Healing with honesty: Justice served 40 years later

Revelstoke senior gets house arrest for sexually assaulting stepdaughter

WorkSafe BC to investigate explosion at Princeton facility

Explosion at Envirogreen waste reclamation plant occurred Nov. 27

Doors open to Vernon’s first refill store

Vernon’s Refill Store may be answer to plastics problem

Okanagan RCMP not toying around when it comes to impaired drivers

Saturday, Dec. 7 is National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day

Most Read