Those who follow what we do here at Noizze know we support the incredible charity Given To Live. The charity works hard to enable the vulnerable access music opportunities that they otherwise wouldn't be able to. Here is but one of their incredible stories...
A few weeks ago Given To Live received an application for Sally to see The Vaccines.
Sally is 38, has children aged 5 and 7. Two years ago Sally went to
hospital for an MRI and was diagnosed with MS having been experiencing
dizzy spells. Her hospital stay lasted three and a half months during
which time she deteriorated rapidly to the extent she had to re-learn
how to go to the loo and how to eat. MS isn't a kind illness and in Sally's
case it was rapid and severe.
Today Sally has a wheelchair but
prefers to use her walking stick. A walking stick that has an after show
pass from The Vaccines proudly attached.
When Given To Live
received the application for Sally it was approved immediately. However
the show she wanted to see was sold out and no disability tickets were
available either. Sometimes things are meant be and a chance phone call
with Dev who runs the Golden Lion in Bristol and also has his own band,
The Idles, ends up with him saying...'I know Arni, the bass player, let
me see what I can do.' Less than 24hrs later see what I can do had
become a meet and greet with The Vaccines at their Bath Pavilion show on
A phone call to Sally to say we had tickets for her
opens the way for unbridled joy, tears and shrieks of delight. Sally
asks if she can meet them? No, it's not been possible to make that
happen is the line taken elicits a momentary lull in the tears and
shrieking. But only momentary. Between then and the show Given To Live
receives a number of texts filled with glorious excitement and such
gratitude it is almost bursting from the page.
Saturday the 4th
comes around and at 6pm sharp we pick up Sally who is waiting dressed
up for show time rocking a great pair of tights, a huge smile and just
about jumping out of her skin with anticipation. It doesn't take long to
get to Bath and after a quick drink and pizza we head to the show good
Sally is a courageous woman and also has a default
switch that means she won't let out how tough having MS is for her.
Saying it's better than it was. It is.
And it's also been, and
is, devastating for her. A few minutes outside having a sit down during
the support band elicits a moment that brings so much into focus. No
longer saying it's a perk of MS that she's taken to The Vaccines but a
moment of the fierce, heartbreaking truth that her life collapsed in a
matter of months. That she is a mother and wife but so differently than 2
years ago, that within the hope and faith that she will be fully
healthy again she's wracked with uncertainty. Tears, deep heartbroken
tears make their way down her cheeks too fast to beat the words 'I'm not
allowed to cry'. A cry, a cigarette and we're on our way back in
picking up a red wine and coke.
Then Sally starts causing
trouble! 'I want to meet the band. I'm going to try and get backstage'
OK, great idea but no you're not. 'I am!' What if she gets there and
someone tips her off that we're headed there anyway but we've just kept
it as a surprise? Given To Live impart years of wisdom about how hard it
is to get backstage without passes, it doesn't happen, you need to sit
down and rest. Sally is a determined lady and it took a lot of
persuading but eventually she relented and took her spot behind the
sound desk where there was a rail to hang onto.
Sally has MS.
Standing is difficult, walking tougher but she was at her favourite
band's show and damned if she was sitting at the back where she could
have a seat. Sally has a loud scream. Down the phone or in person it's
loud and my ears will readily agree. The house lights go down and Sally
screams. And tears stream down her face. Tears of joy. She sings,
laughs, cries, turns and says this is the song she wants at her funeral
Then Sally goes and gets difficult again. She wants the rail.
This is a woman with a walking stick having difficulties standing.
Difficulties walking. But dammit there's no stopping her and we make our
way to the rail, with a wobble or two, but she makes it. And for a
couple of songs she's there on the rail at her favourite band, the band
whose music she wants at her funeral.
Reality takes her to the
seat she has at the back. But she really isn't interested in it even
though her body is. Reluctantly she sits a moment at a time but up again
she gets not wanting to miss a moment.
The show ends and a
happy and exhausted Sally now needs a sit down. This works as we need to
wait until Hans, the tour manager, comes to get us and Sally still has
Sat down I demand her walking stick and turn my back
to her and when I hand it back to her there's an after show pass stuck
just below the handle. This takes a few moments to sink in and you can
see this in the video below.
Hans arrives and takes Sally
backstage. She's a little overwhelmed and Miss 'I'm Going To Try And Go
Backstage' isn't quite as loud as we make our way for her to meet them.
The Vaccines were wonderful to Sally and truly Sally had an incredible
time. She chatted skateboarding with Justin amongst other things and was
treated with such generosity and respect by them all, Arni, Pete and
The easiest thing to do is leave the final word to Sally herself who sent this message...
"Saturday was the stuff dreams are made of! The best thing I could have
hoped for! The best thing that's happened to me since m.s ravaged my
life! No job and now disabled! Thanks for making a dream come true!"