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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Singer Amy Sky hosts cancer research fundraiser

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Pictured, from left, are, event co-chair Sheldon Freeman, musicians Marc Jordan and Amy Sky, and co-chair Norman Shiner. [Susan Minuk photo]

Canadian singer-songwriter Amy Sky, whose mother died of cancer, hosted the recent Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) event, an evening of music and story telling at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.

“Cancer took my mom, Sandy Shiner, from our family,” Sky said. “Her first yahrzeit is Nov. 29, so, naturally she is on my mind. Every time I am engaged in activities that help others, I know that this is, in part, my mother’s legacy of caregiving that she passed on to me. She was also a music lover – she lived for the arts. This evening would have been doubly rewarding for her – music and a meaningful cause.”

A Toronto native, Sky burst into the national limelight in 1996 with her debut recording Cool Rain, which achieved gold status in Canada for record sales and spawned four hit singles, including I Will Take Care of You.

Sky also writes songs for dozens of international recording stars, including Anne Murray, Reba McEntire, Diana Ross and Olivia Newton-John.

As both a writer and performer, Amy has been nominated for Juno, SOCAN, Canadian Independent Music and American Songwriting awards, among others. 

Her opening number, Help Me To Heal, was written by Sky and Newton-John for Newton-John’s 2010 CD, Grace and Gratitude Renewed.

 “I had the good fortune to be with Olivia Newton-John when she gave the song’s world première at the Kennedy Center in 2010 at the first-ever Susan G. Komen Awards Gala,” Sky said.

“I saw a roomful of well-known cancer survivors and advocates, in addition to Olivia, who is herself a survivor.  I reflected that these people gathered there that night because of the promise that Nancy Brinker had made to her dying sister, Susan Komen, to do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. That promise launched the Global Breast Cancer Movement, and it reminded me of Margaret Mead’s well-known quote, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’

 “Looking around the room here tonight, I feel the same energy, the same belief and commitment to fund the research that will make the breakthroughs that will save countless lives in years to come.”

The guests at the fundraiser received Sky’s latest CD, Alive and Awake, a collection of songs chosen to reflect Amy’s belief that art and music can be tremendously healing.

Sky devotes a great deal of her time to women’s health issues and has spoken out extensively on her own experience with postpartum depression.

Her husband, singer-songwriter Marc Jordan, also entertained the crowd with his group, Lunch At Allen’s, an ensemble that features veteran performers and songwriters Ian Thomas, Cindy Church and Murray McLauchlan.

Around $150,000 was raised for cancer research that evening.

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