Dolores Demone and parishioners from Sacred Heart Church in Wetaskiwin sang hymns together April 27, 2020. Photo by Shaela Dansereau.

Sacred Heart Church parishioners sing hymns with Wetaskiwin woman battling cancer

The women gathered to sing with Dolores Demone who has been battling cancer for over four years.

Dolores Demone, 59, has been battling cancer for the past four and a half years. What started as breast cancer spread following intensive chemotherapy, surgery and radiation to her lungs and liver. In August 2019, Demone found out that she had tumours in her brain.

After more intensive radiation to try to treat the tumours, doctors told Demone at the end of October that she had anywhere from two weeks to two months left to live.

“But then she made Christmas, and she made New Years,” said her husband Mike Demone. “She’s a fighter. She doesn’t give up.”

A few weeks ago after experiencing bad headaches, Demone had a CT scan that came back with difficult news.

“Today, tomorrow, a month, nobody can say,” said Mike about how much time Demone left. “She’s full of cancer.”

Demone loves to sing. It brings her joy to stand in church among her friends and sing hymns together on Sundays.

With churches closed because of the pandemic, Demone has not been able to sing in church with her friends for quite some time. However, the virus wasn’t going to stop parishioners from Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Wetaskiwin from singing with Demone for what might be the last time.

On April 27, practicing social distancing protocols, Demone’s friends from church spread out their lawn chairs six-feet-apart on the asphalt in front of Demone’s garage, hymn books in hand.

Together with Demone they sat in the sunshine singing her favourite hymns.

“It’s hard to tell some days she’s deathly sick,” Mike said as he stood and watched the women sing in harmony. “More than once we didn’t think she’d make the night and then she turns around and wants to walk 14 kilometers.”

The singing continued, intermittent with laughter as the women joke with each other between hymns.

Mike and Delores have been together for almost 40 years. “I don’t know what I’m going to do when she’s gone,” he says.

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