Humorous Breast Cancer Songs Help Raise Money for Research (dateline February 8, 2000) | Breast Health News | Imaginis - The Women's Health & Wellness Resource Network

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Humorous Breast Cancer Songs Help Raise Money for Research (dateline February 8, 2000)

Photo Courtesy of Pat and Friends

With A Little Help From My Friends is a new CD that features seven breast cancer survivors singing light-hearted songs about hair loss , drug therapies, and other aspects of breast cancer. The 13 songs that appear on the album were written by Pat Opatz, a member of the St. Cloud Breast Cancer Support Group in Minnesota and a breast cancer survivor who has battled six cancer recurrences (returns) over the past decade. The purposes of the album, the group says, are to raise much needed money for breast cancer research and to provide "healthy laughter" to breast cancer patients and their families who struggle with this serious disease on a daily basis.

The idea to create an album came from Linda Bernett, a breast cancer patient who joined the St. Cloud Breast Cancer Support Group and found Pat leading the group in parodies of famous songs that took a humorous approach to breast cancer. With the help of Linda’s husband, Tom, who owned a recording studio, and Ronnie Newman, a former organist for the Minnesota Twins, Linda organized the recording of 13 of the group’s favorite parodies.

At those [support] meetings, we got to laughing about a bunch of things that are generally not that funny," Pat told the St. Cloud Times, which featured the group of seven on page one of their December 15, 1999 edition. "Then, all of a sudden, we all stopped laughing and took a moment to think about what we were doing, but we just started laughing again because we could feel how important it is to be able to laugh at the times in life that aren’t necessarily supposed to be funny," said Pat.

With the help of a grant from the St. Cloud Hospital’s CentraCare Health Foundation, the group, which calls itself "Pat and Friends," released 2,000 copies of With A Little Help From My Friends last December. All proceeds from the album help fund breast cancer research based on recommendations from the National Cancer Institute. Currently, the group is not satisfied with the amount of money allocated to breast cancer research. According to Linda, the National Cancer Institute planned to spend $2.9 billion on cancer research in 1999, with $388 million designated for breast cancer. The amount may sound substantial but considering that one B-2 bomber costs approximately $1.3 billion, Linda calls the current funding for breast cancer research "a slap in the face."

The 13 songs featured on the album set comical lyrics to well-known tunes. The signature song, "With A Little Help From Our Group," is sung to the tune of the Beatles’ hit, "With A Little Help From My Friends." Some of the other songs that appear on the album include:

  • "The Hair Comes Back"
  • "Ode to the Hot Flash"
  • "You've Gotta Have Guts"
  • "The Arm With Lymphedema"
  • "There Is Nothing Like A Breast"
  • "I Feel Pretty" (a spoof on the West Side Story hit)

Audio clips of the songs may be downloaded over the Internet using Real player software. The group hopes their humorous take on some of the not-so-humorous issues associated with breast cancer will lift spirits and encourage more people to support breast cancer research.

Currently, the cost of one compact disc (CD) album is $13.50 (shipping included). The group is currently applying for non-profit status and will post tax deduction information on their website as it becomes available.

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