The first concert I attended at The Myrna Loy was a sold-out show in 2013 by Elephant Revival. The music thrilled me, but I was deeply moved by the happy faces I saw in the crowd. For me, going to live concerts is a lot like going to church. It’s a transformative and spiritual experience that fills your heart with joy. I couldn’t wait to return.
A few months later, I volunteered at Uncorked, to another sold-out crowd, where there was barely enough room to deliver the appetizers I was serving. Once again, I saw lots of happy faces in the crowd. I was pretty new to Helena, but I couldn’t believe how comfortable I felt.
Then in September 2016, my world came crashing down when I had a stroke at 35. You might say my brain hit the snooze button and needed to be woken up again. My family suggested that playing music in the hospital room might help. The Beatles’ ‘Here Comes the Sun’ was the song that woke up my brain. (Thank you George Harrison).
A year later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
How do you cope with extreme health challenges? Some people find relief in guided meditation, medications, or counseling. My help came from what I call “Myrna Therapy.”
Working at The Myrna Loy has strengthened me through some tough treatments and procedures. Two days before we presented the group Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, I had cancer surgery. I attended that concert in so much pain, with my surgical tubes still present—but I was determined to come. I’d been part of the buildup to the concert, led the PR campaign, had corresponded with the band, and had been jamming to their music. I knew how great they were going to be before almost everyone else.
At that sold-out concert, I absorbed the band’s incredible music, the roomful of energy, and the community of joy that surrounded me. That evening, the cancer patient was once again was transformed into a hopeful, vibrant person filled with energy happily clapping along.
When I was sick, bald, and scared, being here kept me going. Even my oncologist, Dr. Weiner, said that working at The Myrna was good for me.
I still feel the same shared energy in the crowd whenever there is a live performance or great film, or anytime I walk through the door of The Myrna Loy. It’s a place where I can be my full self.
Now I’m thankful to be cancer-free with the support of my husband, parents, outstanding family, my Myrna family, and one helluva fabulous oncologist. I’m still healthy, happy, and getting my daily dose of Myrna Therapy.
Everyone knows that art gives us the power to be our full selves – through the good, bad, ugly, and even the bald. For me, The Myrna Loy, art really does transform everything.
— Kathryn Comer-Tuss
Graphics and social media for The Myrna Loy