A three time brain tumor survivor is putting on her bi-annual “Today’s A Good Day” benefit concert Monday, June 9, to pay tribute through song to anyone who has ever been affected by cancer.
“It’s for anyone who has ever been touched by cancer, if you have ever been affected in anyway this is for you,” Donica Lynn, the creator of the event said. “The person who has it isn’t the only one who is affected,” she said.
The concert will be held at the Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave., and starts at 7:30 p.m. It will be hosted by director Rob Lindley, who has been nominated multiple times for the Jeff Award, which honors professional theater produced in Chicago. Director Lilli-Anne Brown (Victory Garden’s Dessa Rose), and Lara Filip (Paramount’s Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) are also hosts. Advance tickets are $10 and $15 at the door. Donations are tax deductible and all net proceeds benefit the American Brain Tumor Association as well as the American Cancer Society.
The Chicago singer, actress, mother of three and soon to be wife said she hasn’t let anything get in the way of her career or positive outlook on life. Feeling defeated isn’t an option, she said.
She has worked with the Chicago Opera House in Queenie Pie, the Mercury Theater in the Color Purple, and Congo Square in Black Nativity, Sanctified to name a few. She has also produced two number 1 dance singles in the UK as a recording artist. The list of accomplishments continue.
Lynn doesn’t let the treatment that comes with brain cancer prevent her from pursuing her career. She said she has been quite fortunate to work with companies that are both empathetic and flexible.
“Every director I have worked with I let them know what is going on and they are very giving,” she said.
There were days she would go through chemotherapy and still go to work. She has had directors who let her rest during rehearsals until it’s her time to come out. There were even times she had seizures on stage, which she called “scary,” but none of it stopped her from doing what she loves and just living life.
In 1987, at the age of 12, doctors found Lynn’s first brain tumor. It was benign and removed. In April of 2010, there was another one, in the same location. She had it removed too. Then when it returned again in August she said she was afraid to tell her children.
“I was scared because I had to tell my children what was going on. Once I got past telling the kids, I got to a place where I was comfortable talking about it,” Lynn said.
According to the American Brain Tumor Association, in 2013, it was estimated that 69,720 new cases of primary brain tumors would be diagnosed. For every 100, 000 people in the United States, approximately 221 are living following a brain tumor diagnosis.
Having theater and her loved ones is what helped Lynn get through the chemotherapy and radiation, she said. SongbirdBLU Believers is a group she created, which allows her to communicate with her supporters. They completed the Breakthrough Brain Tumor 5K on April 27 and raised over $500.
The tribute concert will consist of testimony and Lynn’s performance of songs like Sara Bareilles’ Brave, Fireworks by Katy Perry, and Believe In Yourself from the the 1978 film, “The Wiz.”
The songs will be divided into four parts: diagnosis, treatment, aftercare and survival.
“Music touched me when I was going through treatment,” she said. India.Arie’s “I am not My Hair” is a song that she listened to when the chemotherapy made her lose her hair.
“Although the songs are not my words, they still tell a story,” she said.
The concert will also have special guests like Grammy Nominee Justin Roberts and other local musical theater performers.