Sunnybrook hospital staff sing touching tribute to Tragically Hip
Some of the tour proceeds will be donated to Sunnybrook Foundation to support cancer research
In a moving tribute to the band, Sunnybrook Hospital staff sang a Tragically Hip song to thank Gord Downie, his bandmates and those who have donated to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research.
In the video, the staff sings a few verses from the the band's song Courage as they gather around a large red heart painted on the ground.
Downie was diagnosed in December with an aggressive, incurable form of brain cancer — glioblastoma.
Despite the illness, Downie vowed to join his bandmates of more than 30 years for a summer tour in support of the Hip's new album, Man Machine Poem. The 15-date Canada-only tour will go to Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, London, Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa, before ending in Kingston.
Dr. James Perry, Gord Downie's neuro-oncologist, has been touring with the band.
Some of the proceeds from the tour this summer will be donated to the Sunnybrook Foundation to support cancer research.
According to Perry, it is difficult to get people to realize what a huge impact glioblastoma can have on people's lives.
"It's still relatively under-represented," he said in a video provided by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. "That leads to a lot of difficulty in making a strong case for funding hence the need for philanthropy, and special events to bolster the funding that we have."
Downie and his brightly coloured metallic suits will be front-and centre in the band's shows in Toronto Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
"If you want to know how Gord's doing, go to a show," Perry said. "I don't know where he [gets] the energy from, he draws it from the crowd and he's such a pro. He said if they were not performing at their best, they wouldn't be doing it."
After Toronto, the band will perform just three more shows in Hamilton, Ottawa and then Kingston for their final performance, which will be broadcast live by CBC on Aug. 20.
"I've been to a lot of concerts, I love music, and I've never heard a louder crowd. There wasn't a dry eye in the house," Perry said. "They're just having a tremendous time and everyone understands the significance of this."