Entertainment

Cancer and chemo fuel Dee's songs

Dee Handyside’s debut album was recorded while she had treatment for breast cancer, and will help raise funds for cancer research.
Dee Handyside’s debut album was recorded while she had treatment for breast cancer, and will help raise funds for cancer research. CONTRIBUTED

DEE Handyside was living her dream life as a ranger on Fraser Island, when a genetic time bomb went off: she was diagnosed with breast cancer, the same disease that killed her mother.

Just a week later, her sister also discovered she had the illness, and their cousin was also diagnosed soon afterwards.

But rather than suffering quietly, Dee chose to express herself in a "drug-fuelled music frenzy" in her spare bedroom, while undergoing chemotherapy.

The result is her debut album titled Genetic, which she describes as a "mini-musical", charting a cancer patient's journey from diagnosis onwards.

"I wanted to represent that journey and explain it to others, that while there are dark days, it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom," she said.

The album was a mix of styles, from mo-town, jazz, country and R&B, and was written in bursts during her treatment, she said.

"Because chemotherapy affects the whole system, even your brain, you get these strange thought processes and sudden bursts of energy at 2am or 3am," Dee said.

While Dee was nervous about playing some of the songs to people, the feedback she has received has overwhelmed her.

"There's one song, I'm Scared, and people kept saying they had no idea I felt like that because I was so brave," she said.

Another song, Thank You Friends, was written for an inspirational group of women who formed an online breast cancer support forum.

They came together from all over Australia, and New Zealand to be in the music video.

"It was music, love, friends and family that didn't give up on me when I had given up on myself."

After recording the album with the help of a computer program, the finished product is now available on iTunes and is being distributed to ABC stores around the country with 10% of all sales going to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

To herald World Cancer Day on Saturday, Dee will launch the first single, Thank You Friends, and she plans to give 100% of iTunes proceeds for February to the foundation.

Topics:  cancer, chemotherapy, health



UPDATE: 6yo bitten by dingo on Fraser taken to hospital

Two high-risk interactions between people and dingoes have been reported on Fraser Island.

There have been 13 high-risk interactions with dingoes this year.

Work on $800k mobility corridor to get underway this week

Work on a new mobility scooter corridor is set to get underway.

Work on a new mobility corridor has begun.

NEW BUSINESS: SIP espresso bar already has plans to grow

The new SIP espresso bar in Maryborough is becoming a popular stop for locals.

It catches anyone from early morning tradesmen to hospital staff

Local Partners

'Baby' recreates famous Nirvana cover shot 25 years later

The baby from Nevermind album has recreated the iconic cover shot.

PREVIEW: Luke Cage origin story is a strong addition to MCU

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage.

MIKE Colter stars as latest Marvel superhero to get his own series.

Kate goes down fighting in heated Survivor elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Kate Campbell.

YOGA teacher's 'good guys' alliance fails to get off the ground.

Emily Blunt's (almost) singing career

Emily Blunt nearly became the British Britney Spears.

Angelina is blocking calls from Brad Pritt

Angelina Jolie has reportedly blocked Brad Pitt's number.

Apocalyptica 'seek and destroy' sceptics with 'master' set

Apocalyptica play Max Watts in Brisbane on their Shadowmaker Tour.

Review of final show of Apocalyptica's tour

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Huge Gunalda service station set to open by December

NEW STATION: The Gunalda Service Centre, owned by United Petroleum, will include a 350-seat eating area and a truckers lounge.

The massive servo is the biggest United development in Queensland.

Property leader says Fraser Coast market is looking up

Positivity is the buzz word in the Fraser Coast housing market

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual