A woman from New York state who uses dance to help cheer her up while going through cancer treatment got the opportunity to talk to the singer of the band featured in her now-viral video.
Tiffany Staropoli, 39, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in May, and decided not to let the illness bring her mood down if she could help it.
When Staropoli was feeling particularly down, she recruited her husband to shoot video of her dancing in an effort to cheer herself up — and it started to work wonders.
The soundtrack to the video features Great Big Sea's 1997 hit When I'm Up (I Can't Get Down).
While talking to CBC Radio One's On The Go on Tuesday, Staropoli was surprised with a phone-in conversation with Alan Doyle, lead singer of Great Big Sea.
Staropoli told the singer that the songs have started to take on a new meaning for her.
"Oh my gosh, going through this, for the first time I'm actually really, truly listening to the lyrics, and it's really hitting home," she said.
"It's not just that song — it's so many more. And if people who aren't fans yet just look up your music, it's just so moving so thank you for everything you do — it's just so great."
Doyle said he was happy to put a voice to the now-famous face, and that he's happy his songs have done for her what he always wanted them to be able to do for his fans.
"When we sing songs like When I'm Up and Ordinary Day and all those other ones, they sort of — that's exactly the kind of thing we hope will happen, you know," Doyle said.
"We hope someone will use them to make a bad day a little bit better, and I'm so grateful to be a part of this whole thing — thank you so much."
Video was a surprise from husband
While talking to Here and Now host Debbie Cooper on Tuesday night, Staropoli said the song choice in the video, as well as the video itself, was actually a surprise.
"The funny thing is, I did not create the video. It was my idea to start videotaping me, and I work in film and video production and I thought, 'Maybe someday down the line I'll make a cute funny video, ha-ha,'" she said.
"But my friends actually threw a benefit for me a couple of weeks ago, and my husband, without me knowing about it, gave that footage to an editor friend of ours."
She said her husband, Rick Staropoli, and their friend Rob McGowan edited the video and caught her completely off-guard.
Staropoli said she's been a fan of Great Big Sea ever since she met her husband.
'I had to do something that pulled me out of that negative headspace and, for me, if I'm getting up and I'm dancing on camera, I can't possibly not laugh.' —Tiffany Staropoli
"I married into a great big Great Big Sea-loving family, and I had never heard of them until six years ago when I met my husband," she said.
"I went to my first [Great Big Sea] concert, oddly enough, the day after my husband and I eloped, so it was kind of like — they've kind of been kind of the soundtrack of my life for the last couple of years, so a lot of main events in my life have kind of been punctuated by their songs, so it made sense that he'd pick Great Big Sea [for the video]."
Staropoli said the whole practice of being filmed while dancing had a surprising effect.
"I had to do something that pulled me out of that negative headspace and, for me, if I'm getting up and I'm dancing on camera, I can't possibly not laugh," she said.
"Even if I'm dragging my feet initially, if I get into it, eventually I'm going to start cracking myself up and it's going to pick me up."
She said the overall effect was well worth the sometimes daunting effort of getting up and dancing.
"It's awesome. It's amazing how quickly I turn myself around, you know," Staropoli said.
"You can go into the [mood] cycles again — up and down, and up and down — but it just, it works and that's all I can say — it works. Even if it works for minutes, it's worth it."
In the video, there are various shots of Staropoli dancing at home, at the park with her dog, or even in the hospital receiving chemotherapy treatments.