British pop star Stacey Jackson’s world turned upside down when her best friend—mom Florrie—was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, she’s doing everything she can to help stamp out the disease.
In May, British pop singer Stacey Jackson performed at Hollywood’s trendy club Bardot to promote the U.S. launch of her new album, Live It Up. It was a dream come true for the mother of four, who rose to fame with two top-five dance singles and four top-20 dance songs on the UK charts over the past four years.
And it was a chance for her to promote a cause close to her heart—breast cancer awareness—since proceeds from the concert were donated to the Breast Cancer Charities of America (BCCA), a nonprofit group that raises funds for research and education. “One of these days, [breast cancer] is not going to exist,” she told a reporter during a pink carpet interview.
“I cried when I heard the news”
Stacey, 44, was personally touched by the disease last September, when her career was starting to take off. Her first single, I Hear a Symphony, had risen to No. 9 on the club charts, sandwiched between songs by Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga. She had toured with rapper Snoop Dogg (now known as Snoop Lion) and was getting ready to bring her unique dance music to the U.S. when she received devastating news.
“My mum [Florrie] told me she had found a small lump in her breast,” recalls Stacey. Florrie, 67, saw a doctor and was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer. Last November, she had surgery to remove the tumor. Fortunately, the cancer was caught in its earliest stages. Still, Florrie was put on a 6-month regimen of chemotherapy to prevent a recurrence.
“I cried when I heard the news,” says Stacey. “My mom is my best friend.” Indeed, Florrie has always been her biggest fan. As a child, Stacey would dance on an imaginary stage in the living room of her Montreal home, using a hairbrush as a microphone. Her family would burst into applause, and Florrie always clapped and cheered the loudest.
Despite the demands of her burgeoning career, Stacey was determined to be by her mom’s side during treatment. That meant frequent flights from London, where Stacey lives, to Montreal. “I wanted to be there for her in the same way that she’s always been there for me and my family,” says Stacey.
When Florrie was undergoing chemo, Stacey accompanied her to appointments every few weeks. “If my mom was tired, I’d just curl up next to her and hold her, and we’d listen to music since we both find it so relaxing,” says Stacey. “Other times, I’d tell her about things I’d been doing in my career.” Stacey always brought videos of her children, who are 17, 14, 10 and 5. “We’d FaceTime or Skype with each other,” says Stacey. “My kids like to talk to their grandma about school and sports. They told her how they couldn’t wait to have her come visit.”
“Don’t give up, live it up”
Throughout her treatment, Florrie maintained a positive attitude. “It was, I have so much to live for, and I’ll get through this,” says Stacey, who decided to launch the album Live It Up in conjunction with a public service announcement (PSA). “The motto of our PSA is Don’t give up, live it up,” Stacey says. In the PSA, which can be seen on YouTube.com, Stacey says, “It’s important for victims of cancer to stay strong, positive and focused.”
The song Live It Up reached No. 2 on the UK dance charts. Its popularity isn’t surprising, given its inspirational message, which echoes Stacey’s attitude toward life—and the lesson she’s learned from her mom’s cancer battle: “Life is too short. You have to embrace every moment and every opportunity that comes [your way].”
Keeping breast cancer at bay
Stacey’s mom’s diagnosis has driven home the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Here’s how she protects herself: