Michigan resident Tanya Star McCall may have terminal cancer, but thanks to Irish supergroup Celtic Thunder, she is living life to the fullest degree.
McCall spoke with The Grand Rapids Press about how the Irish performers' music saved her life.
Shortly after she began chemotherapy for breast cancer, McCall remembers thinking “I don’t have a reason to fight this.”
“No husband, no kids, no job, no hair, no hope,” she said. “I was just sitting there, bawling, flipping through the TV channels.”
While channel surfing, the 37-year-old came across a PBS special on Celtic Thunder, the wildly popular Irish all-male music group that tours the world performing solo and ensemble numbers, from traditional Irish ballads and contemporary American hits.
McCall who admittedly tends to listen to hardcore music like heavy metal, was immediately enthralled with the Celtic singers.
“For the first time in months I forgot I was sick,” she said. “It was like nothing else existed but them and me.”
She went on to play Celtic Thunder’s music during her medical procedures, and says the music motivated her to take up her passions of writing poetry and drawing again. McCall got to see her favorite group perform live in Grand Rapids.
“They just inspired me,” she said. “They’ve been with me through all of this and they don’t even know it.”
Earlier this year, McCall was tragically diagnosed with untreatable cancer. But the brave woman has kept her head up, and intends to keep on living life while she can.
“I’m not afraid of it, of dying. I’ve just got some stuff to do first,” she said.
One of those things is seeing Celtic Thunder in concert one last time.
McCall’s mother Carol contacted the Dream Foundation, a national organization that grants wishes to adults with fatal illnesses, now Tanya Star McCall will fly on a plane for the first time in her life to travel to New York City with her friends to see Celtic Thunder perform this week.
“I’ll be up dancing in the aisles if I’m feeling well enough,” she said.
She’ll even have the opportunity to meet the five members of the Celtic group, which is responsible for reinvigorating McCall’s life.
“So many people don’t know they’re dying. They just get in their car one day or whatever and they’re killed,” she said. “With my cancer, I got a head’s up. I saw it as an opportunity to do things. Now I can accomplish a lot to bring my life full circle."