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You are here: Home / News / Songwriters connect over cancer treatment and recovery

Songwriters connect over cancer treatment and recovery

by Dianne Shaw — last modified Dec 10, 2013 09:32 AM
N.C. Cancer Hospital patient, Jim MacDonald, worked with songwriter, Emily Lynch, to write a song about his cancer experience, "Every Day is Christmas.”

Jim MacDonald and Becky Lynch
Jim MacDonald with Becky Lynch, a protocol nurse at the N.C. Cancer Hospital.

Songwriters, Jim MacDonald and Emily Lynch are storytellers. With more than a thirty-year age gap and a state in between them, their individual pursuit to create music unexpectedly brought them together last year.

Emily Lynch is an independent singer-songwriter based in Greenville, South Carolina, whose mother, Becky Lynch, works as a research nurse at the N.C. Cancer Hospital. Jim MacDonald is a veteran lyricist and songwriter out of Raleigh, North Carolina, and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma last year. He was treated at the cancer hospital where he eventually crossed paths with Mrs. Lynch.

Though Mr. MacDonald was not one of Becky’s original patients, she met him one day while covering for another nurse in the cancer hospital. Early in her conversations with him she found out he was a songwriter, and she mentioned that her daughter, Emily, was also an artist and songwriter. Becky passed along Emily’s contact information, and Jim immediately got in touch with her to talk music.

“Jim called me and we decided to give co-writing a song long distance a try, even though we had never met in person,” Emily explains. “We began swapping lyrics and melodies via e-mail, which led to a unique working relationship and a few original songs.”

“Emily was wanting to write a Christmas song,” Jim recalls. “I began thinking about my experience in the hospital and how the good days felt just as good as the joy you feel on Christmas morning. That led to us to the title, ‘Every Day is Christmas’.”

“I wanted to capture the highs and lows of the experience you have when you’re in the hospital,” says MacDonald. How when you can go to the bathroom by yourself, bend over and tie your shoes, or walk ten feet further makes you feel. That feeling of accomplishment is exciting, full of joy and hope, just like Christmas day.”

Click here to download the song.

“After playing the song for a few different audiences, it was obvious that people connected to the lyric,” says Lynch. “When you hear a song that you connect with, you realize there are other people out there who have gone through a similar experience and it is comforting. I think people who have had cancer or another illness can understand what Jim went through and can relate to the song. I love how music helps us cope and express what we are feeling in a very unique way. It brings people together and can be healing in itself.”

Emily and Jim finally met months later in Raleigh when Emily performed at a local club. “It was the first time I heard her sing in person,” says MacDonald. “She played the song and knocked it out of the park!”

Emily Lynch
Emily Lynch

“It was an honor to be a part of bringing this song to life,” says Lynch. “To get to write it with someone who has not only experienced cancer, but who has survived it and kicked it to the curb was such an inspiration.” 

Date: Dec. 9, 2013