Nfld. & Labrador

Songwriter pens tune about overcoming adversity, gets cancer six months later

Kathy Stock never thought a song she was paid to write would have a far deeper meaning to her personal life.

Kathy Stock's journey became singer's first album

Kathy Stock was diagnosed with cancer just six months after writing a song about overcoming adversity. (Submitted)

Kathy Stock never thought a song she was paid to write would become an anthem for those fighting cancer. 

In 2012, Stock was asked by the folks putting together TEDx St. John's to write a song about overcoming adversity. 

"I was 28 when I wrote it. I hadn't really overcome much adversity in my life up to that point," Stock said.

"I was kind of living my dream singing and songwriting."

Six months later, that all drastically changed when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"One of the speakers from the TEDx event actually reached out to me … and said, 'Wow, that song means so much more now.' It hadn't really dawned on me how much this had been an anthem for something I hadn't even experienced yet."

Stock, a mother of two boys, quickly learned that life doesn't stop when you get cancer. 

Stock played her song at the TedX event in 2012 — back when she had no idea how important the song would become to her. (Submitted)

She was just 29 years old and her husband was 35.

The bills still arrived and the kids needed to be picked up from school.

"And there was also this fear of … what if things don't go the way that we hope that they do?" she said.

Stock said that period of her life was full of challenges, like trying to navigate the emotions and feelings of her children.

"Your life is kind of just beginning. You're getting your independence for the first time and then you kind of have to become dependent on other people. Career-wise, you have to stop singing and stop performing," she said.

Stock performs her song at the Hope Ball in 2014. (Submitted)

With help from Young Adult Cancer Canada, and two-time cancer survivor Geoff Eaton, Stock worked through it. 

"We connected and it was the first time I sat across the table from somebody who wasn't twice my age and who was dealing with cancer — it was very powerful," said Stock.

Stock remains active with YACC, an organization she can't say enough good things about. 

On July 11, 2013, doctors told her that her cancer was in remission. 

"I was ecstatic about that, but that quickly gave birth to this new realm of the after. I call it a period of deconstruction," she said.

"I was going into my 30s, so that's kind of a catalyst moment for people anyway, but to go through that at such a peak moment in life really just left me to unpack a lot of stuff and to consider your mortality at 29. It's really challenging."

Stock's debut album, Overcome, was released this September. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Stock turned her focus back to singing and songwriting, putting together enough material for her first album.

"This is such an incredible thing to write through, to write through challenges," Stock said.

"The title track is Overcome and that was really important to me … but there's songs on there about raising my kids and songs about navigating relationships."

Stock loves playing Overcome and said it's becoming an anthem of cancer survivorship that no one had any idea it would. Stock has performed the song for residents at Daffodil Place, at multiple YACC events and for many others. 

"It's taken on this life that I didn't know that it could, and I love that it's done that. I love that I've been able to contribute to people's peace."

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