Raising Hope for Emma Lee Stewart

The Reason For Hope Compilation CD's can be ordered via email to TheReasonForHopeCD@Gmail.com payment can be made via Interact Email Money Transfer. Mail orders with payment by cash or cheque can be made to :
The Reason For Hope
170 Temperance Street New Glasgow, NS B2H3B1 ($20.00 Includes shipping)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from The Stewarts and a little gift from Emma Lee

Hello Everyone,

Hoping this holiday season has found you near your family and friends.

A strange day at the Stewart house, full of many firsts. Hanging fewer stockings and setting one less place at the table.

Today during the gift exchange my father brought down a box that came to the house a few weeks before my mothers passing. While she was in Halifax receiving her radiation treatment she wandered down to visit our friend Adriana at Argyle Fine Art and admire the many beautiful pieces they had at the gallery that spring day.

She fell in love with a mixed medium boat. The boat of "Joy"...

This was unbeknownst to us. Until the CD Release at The Carleton when Adriana informed me she had something to donate to our Silent Auction, it was a boat because apparently my mother had fallen in love with these works of art. I still remained clueless about the situation.

So today, my father marched downstairs with the box. Upon their arrival my mother said "Put these upstairs, don't bring them down- they are Christmas presents".

We waited until the end of the exchange, slightly nervous for what was sitting in the box for us. Lee declined opening them... So after much debacle trying to get these gifts open- the final wrapper came off and we were holding "Becky's Boats". The ship of Love, Joy, and Hope.

A beautiful final gift from my mother and 3 treasures we will hold dear.

With love to you and yours this holiday season- wishing you a wonderful 2012.


Mary Stewart

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tribue To Emma Lee Stewart at Music Nova Scotia Awards Gala 2011

Hello Friends,

I just wanted to thank our friends at Music Nova Scotia for including a tribute to my mother in their Gala awards show. I have included the speech my father read at the show. They projected a beautiful slide show, and played "Send Someon For Me" (Track 15)



November 6th, 2011

Thirty years ago I was working as a sound tech for the group Granfalloon, 5 guys from Northern Nova Scotia. One day I was called to a band meeting where I was told they had invited a Pictou County native to return to the area and join the group. When I found out that they had invited a girl my response was “are you nuts!! She’s is going to change everything!! “. In hindsight those words ring true.

Emma Lee Stewart was a singer, a songwriter, an actor, director, producer, wife and mother. She was also:

Founding Chair of the New Glasgow Jubilee
Chaired the New Glasgow Music Festival
New Glasgow 125 Celebrations
Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia
Citizens Against Pollution
She was a:
Choir Director, Worship Coordinator
A Board Member Tearman Society for Abused Women, Coastline Theatre, New Glasgow Dragon Boat Society
CBC Radio Community Contact for New Glasgow
Co founder of Postcard Players Theatre Company

In 2006 Emma Lee realized her lifelong dream of releasing her first CD. “The Reason” was launched in September of that year and included tracks penned by Matt Minglewood, Ron Hynes, Enoch Kent, Sylvia Tyson as well as 6 of her own songs. She was receiving airplay in New Glasgow, Truro on CBC, plans were in place for shows in PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick all seemed to be falling into place. However, 4 days before Christmas (the longest night of the year) Emma Lee was diagnosed with breast cancer.

In January of 07 she underwent surgery, in March chemo and in May radiation, which took place in Halifax. While in Halifax staying at the Cancer Society’s Lodge that Gives and undergoing treatment she heard about a casting call for a film being shot in Halifax, they were looking for women that were in cancer treatment to make up the support group in scenes of the film “Matters of Life and Dating”, she was able to schedule her radiation treatments around the shooting and spent a week in Halifax as a “paid actress”. Upon returning to New Glasgow she began to resume her life but this time with a focus on exercise and diet. She discovered dragon boating and joined the Women Alike A Breast a River Dragon Boat Team, this was a passion she enjoyed until May of this year.

In the fall of 2007 she decided she wanted to give back to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Lodge That Gives and made contact with them and with the help of family and friends organized the 1st Reason for Hope Concert on her birthday November 13th. The event realized $11,000.00 the largest single donation “The Lodge” had ever received. With that event the Reason for Hope Society was created. All seemed to be once again falling into place Emma Lee received 2 Music Nova Scotia nominations, she resumed her legal career (did I mention she had 25 year career with the largest law firm in Northern Nova Scotia?) was once again performing, writing, organizing and dreaming.

Three more Reason’s for Hope were organized with funds being raised for the Aberdeen Hospital and Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia. The first recordings were completed for along planned Christmas Album, she was working out at the “Y”, doing Spin Class, Dragon boating, travelling and enjoying life when in May of 2010 we received a call and were summoned to her doctors office where we were told her cancer had returned as Metastatic Breast Cancer and we would meet with her Oncologist in the near future to discuss treatment. This we both were convinced just a set back and a similar treatment as in the past would have all back too normal. This was not the case as what we found was that Metastatic Breast Cancer is treatable however is not curable. This was for the moment overwhelming, as at no time was the prospect of an incurable disease ever in our thoughts.

We began to learn more about the disease; Emma Lee researched and found a conference-taking place in Indianapolis and as there were no Canadian programs available to assist her with funding to attend approached the American Susan B. Koman Foundation and received a grant to cover her travel, accommodation and registration. She returned from the conference with optimism as she had met women that have been living with her disease for as long as 28 years. She began chemotherapy treatment in July of 2010, continued to paddle with her team and tried to live her life in as normal a way as possible. She became more involved with Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia and was an inspiration to others diagnosed with the disease.

One day during that summer Emma called and told me she had been talking to our daughter Mary and that she had been in touch with a number of her musical friends in Nova Scotia and Toronto and she was putting together a CD to raise funds for Metastatic Breast Cancer Research, 2 weeks later Emma was in Codapop Studios recording a song for the project. Her rendition of the Cindy Church/ Kaitlin Hanford song “Send Someone for Me” is track 15 on the Reason for Hope CD Project.

On July 14th 2010 Emma Lee began to blog perhaps not on a daily basis but very close to it. She wrote about her treatment, her friends, her family, her dog Honey, her observations on life. Over the next 14 months the followers of her blog increased, to this day we have no idea how many she touched with her words but I would like to share with you one of her entry’s.

This morning I had a fabulous conversation with a dear friend. He reminded me of the energy of love that has been surrounding me and my family throughout this journey. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I am every day reminded of it. But, I think as you have gathered, I’m not feeling well and when I’m not feeling well, it’s hard for me to focus. Really, really hard. It is something I am trying to come to terms with. In the dark of night, I call upon all of the energy that is surrounding me to become a part of me, to fill me and take away all negative energy. I cry for that to happen. So today, I’m crying for all the positive to fill me. And that positive is love. That’s what happened in the hammock in the back 40.

As I was laying under my trusty old maple tree with the sun shining through at just the right angle to see a spider’s web in all its glory and to watch the sun dance on the leaves of that tree, like drops of sunshine really, silently raining down on me, I felt love filling me up. I was taken away somewhere and for a couple of hours, I felt fabulous. Love. Can you pull it up? Can you imagine it? The love that fills this universe? The energy of love that fills this universe? There were children happily playing and a dog barking (in the distance) and the world seemed just right for a long while. Now that is a memory that I am going to replay over and over again, and hope that tomorrow it will happen all over again.

Peace to you all. Get out there and experience the love in this universe. Open your hearts and minds and pull it all in: accept it, its there for us, for all of us.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Reason For Hope November 13th

Hello Friends,

Please share with all your family and friends and lets make this fundraiser a wonderful celebration of my mother's life, and work for this cause.

Silent auction donations include an autographed guitar, a nights stay at The Delta Halifax, DaLish Cosmetics (Cosmetics made for celebrities!) and much more!

Press Release
For Immediate Release

A Reason for Hope Continues

The 5th annual Reason for Hope will take place on Sunday November 13th, 7:30PM at New Glasgow’s Glasgow Square Theatre. This year’s event will be one of mixed emotion as it will mark the first since the passing of founder Emma Lee Stewart. It was her wish that the event continue with its mandate which is to increase public awareness, raise funds and educate in all areas of cancer prevention, awareness and care.

This year’s event will feature performances by Music Nova Scotia Award Nominee Mary Stewart, ECMA nominee Doris Mason, Music Nova Scotia Award winner Ryan Cooke and a special guest appearance by East Coast music icon Matt Minglewood.

Since its inception the Reason for Hope has raised in excess of $20,000 for cancer related initiatives including the Lodge that Gives, Aberdeen Hospital and Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia. Funds raised at this year’s Reason for Hope Concert will be directed to Metastatic Breast Cancer Research. “It was Emma Lee’s wish that fund raising efforts be directed to research in this area as it directly affects approximately 25 percent of persons diagnosed with breast cancer” said organization spokesperson Jim Stewart.

The evening will feature a “Silent Auction” as well as a number of “Door Prizes”. The evening will be hosted by New Glasgow Singer Songwriter Mary Stewart..

Also performing will be local favourites Jakki Rogue and The Alcorns.

Sponsors of the Reason for Hope include Presenting Sponsor- Mac, Mac & Mac, Major Sponsors Fraser & Hoyt, 94.1 East Coast FM and Moosehead Breweries, Intermediate Sponsors Wearwell Garments, Comfort Inn, Country Inns & Suites, Holiday Inn Express and Long & McQuade,.

Tickets are $20 and go on sale on Monday October 31st at Trinity United Church, H&R Music and Glasgow Square Theatre.

-30 –

For more information contact TheReasonForHopeCD@gmail.com

Monday, September 19, 2011

Interment, O'Leary

Good Morning,

Just wanted to let you know that the adventure continues.

Last Friday we gathered with friends and family at HeatherDale Cemetery for the interment service. Jim Webber Cook was there by our side as friends came together for a final goodbye. Shortly after we had a small gathering at the house for some good food, conversation, and a little bit of music.

Saturday, we set sail for O'Leary, PEI- on the busiest, rockiest boat! It was incredible. The wind had cancelled the 8am boat, so it was lucky we got on at all (3rd last car on the boat!). We made the drive to the west end of the island with a short stop in Clinton to pick up Tessa.

Upon arrival we were greeted by my Great Aunt Merna, who was married to my Great Uncle Claude. She welcomed us into my cousin Joanne's cottage at West Point. What a beautiful cottage!! It had a 180 view surrounding it. David and I got to watch the sun sink into the water. Tessa took some photo's of the scenery so we will post a picture of the sunset for my mother in the coming days. No one saw sunsets like she did. We sat around the campfire and played Great Uncle Claud's guitar with Merna and her son Josh before calling it a night.

Sunday we set sail on "The Knotty Lady" with : Great Aunt Merna, Great Aunt Shirley, Cousins: Click, Brenda, Joyce, Faye. Friends Paul Wood and Treena. Paul recently lost his wife to cancer so we were honoured he joined us on this voyage. We departed from West Point harbour and sailing out to the light house where we stopped the boat and told stories about my mother, we then symbolically scattered her ashes into the straight. We took a moment before everyone tossed pink carnations into the water. Paul and Merna then tossed 2 carnations in for Paul's late wife. On the way back to the docks, we formed a ribbon in the water in honour of Emma Lee and The Reason For Hope.

After the outing we gathered back at Great Aunt Merna's with family to enjoy some hot coffee, sandwiches and sweets on the Glenwood Pond.

A long drive back to New Glasgow with a short stop to drop Tessa off; she is moving to France tomorrow for a few months!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Paddles Up

Last evening my father, brother, and I were so fortunate to be able to go out with my mothers paddling friends. It was a very emotional time, from the moment they said "Paddles Up" - they were paddling for Emma Lee.

They suggested they do a race for her. Over the last week we have been hearing "Emma had a mean face when she paddled" she just went in the zone and she wanted to win.

After the first race we ended up on the north side of the bridge, her friends lined the walking pass holding pink carnations and all of the ladies in the boat held pink carnations, before they placed them into the water in memory of my mother we symbolically scattered her ashes in the East River.

We then went further down the river and took a moment outside of Glasgow Square Theatre where she spent so much of her time at.

I thought I would include a photo of the pink carnations in the water.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Service, The Visitation, The Outpouring

"I had never thought I would be in such need, but here I am" - Emma Lee, September 5th 2011.

I thought I would share the events with you from the last few days. You have requested in numbers for this blog to remain active, and for this blog to be immortalized in book form. I will try to make these wishes happen for you, and my mother.

My mother had a way of reaching people, that I can only hope to carry a fraction of.

So lets take you back over the last week. The main thing you will note is that we waited, we took our time. You may remember over the last few months my mothers vocabulary started to involve a certain word "Proper". We did it proper.

We were so lucky that my mother, being the realist was a planner until the end. Before her trip to Maui, she sat with Jim Webber Cook (Trinity United Church) and gave him a program, covered with her handwriting she wrote "Wow!" above the scripture she wanted, circled the information on the Taize, included 2 hymns with exclamation, and one hymn with (Maybe?) . So "maybe"- you were scrapped and we put in "From Now On" written by my mother, inspired by her walks with honey, and performed at Maritime Conference 2011.

We just had to fill in the blanks. Even until 11:59AM on Monday we were filling in the blanks. On sunday afternoon we arrived home to find a card from Linda Arsenault including a poem she had written in the summer for my mother titled "Emma's Courage". It had to be involved. So, I ran over to the church, card in hand and caught Jim Webber Cook as he was leaving for his lunch break and asked "Can this be on a screen?" Trinity made it happen.

The service started with "Somewhere Over The Rainbow/ Its a wonderful world" during my parents trip to Maui my dad and mother fell in love with "Iz" so I asked if we could include this special medley. It was an opportunity to reflect before the beginning of the service. Linda's words beamed clear while the song played.

Emma's Courage :

Emma's courage is big
It grows when it is stroked
Hot as a volcano's fire and energy
Ice cold and soothing as a mountain lake
It sleeps to nourish the soul
Awakens as calm courage
Emma's courage beckons brilliance
Lights laughter in those blue eyes
Her courage has no weight
It is like a feather
Soft and tender
Wanting to be touched
Emma's courage spreads love
It is a reason for hope.

Following this we moved into the Taize, mediation through music- and into the welcoming.

During my mothers battle, she found comfort in candles. So I asked if we could light some candles during the ceremony in honour of my mother. So we lit : The Christ Candle (Jim Webber Cook) The Candle of Community ( Janet Erving) , The Candle of Memory (John and Mary Boulter) , The Candle of Music (" Aunt Liz " - Elizabeth Van DenEden ), The Candle of Peace( Lorne Boulter) , The Candle of Love (Jim Stewart), The Candle of Thanksgiving (Lee Stewart) , and The Candle of Hope (Myself, Mary) .

The special music was "His Eye is On The Sparrow". What can I say about this, they sang like she was standing there beside them, it was the best I have heard their voices shine. Beautiful.

Floyd Kind joined us to do a special song for my mother- "In My Life" it was requested by my father in honour of his love for her.

We played "Send Someone For Me" rare you can perform at your own service. But, she deserved to.

David Wallace and Bruce MacIntosh gave remembrance to my dear mother. I hope they forward copies of their words so I can share them with you because I cannot give it justice.

Doris Mason sang "When Emma Sings" sitting in front of her I couldn't help but stare, I tried so hard not to look because I didn't want to throw her off. Even though Doris was an amazing friend to my mother, she was still there and able to sing the song she wrote for her on her 53rd birthday. Beautiful.

Jim WC, Jim S and Bonnie spoke beautifully throughout the service and their words were so appropriate.

It was a beautiful send off to my mother.

Following the reception, my family and David's mother and father joined at the house for a taste of The Lord Provost's Scotch. A toast before joining friends who gathered at my mom and dad's old stomping grounds "The Dock". My parents shared so many laughs with friends through the last 15 years that it only seemed appropriate.

Monday evening we sat and reflected about the day, feeling as though she would be proud and humbled by the outpouring.

So now what?

Big things ahead, going out into The Dragon Boat, Interment at Heatherdale, and off to O'Leary where my mothers family was born to fulfil her wishes.

Today we purchased http://thereasonforhope.org ! I have started a small website where I will continue to update about the fundraisers, and its a place to buy your CD! The charity will continue and the legacy will go on.

Continue sending your stories of my mother. They have been beautiful, and so comforting.


Mary Stewart

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Visitation and Funeral

Dear Friends,

Again- I extend a sincere Thank You to everyone who has been supporting my family through this. When I say family, I mean everyone who let Emma Lee's light into their life.

We all need to lean on each other for strength at this time.

Visitation will be held at P K MacDonald Funeral Home, 536 Merigomish Road
New Glasgow, NS B2H 5E3

Saturday, September 10th, 7-9PM
Sunday, September 11th 2-4PM & 7-9PM

Funeral :
Monday, September 12th 2PM Trinity United Church Temperance Street, New Glasgow

I have spent a part of the day appreciating my moms blog. I hope you do the same. Reading through her journey for the last few months, and breathing in her words.

Another thought from my mother : " Our light is our energy - it will increase love and peace in this world. Use it for good and get ready to let it go! " August 19th, 2011.