Members of a young B.C. rock group are shedding tears of joy after one of Canada's top bands announced a $50,000 donation to B.C. Children's Hospital, says a member of the group.
Pardon My Striptease, a young band from Chilliwack, B.C., had challenged Canadian recording artists Nickelback to match donations to the province's children's hospital if the song Pray (For LJ) surpasses the veterans' When We Stand Together on the ITunes top 10 rock chart.
Pray is dedicated to one-year-old Lilee-Jean Putt who is battling brain cancer at the hospital and is the only daughter of Pardon My Striptease's lead singer Andrew Putt, 24, and his partner Chelsey Whittle, 24.
Nickelback announced Thursday night on its website that it would make a major donation to the hospital.
"We're moved by the efforts of Pardon My Striptease to raise money for BC Children's Hospital and are happy and excited to take part," said Chad Kroeger, lead singer of Nickelback posted on the website. "As such, Nickelback will be donating $50,000 to the BC Children's Hospital..."
Kroeger then challenged two Vancouver newspapers, The Vancouver Sun and The Province, to match its own donations.
"This is about helping Lilee-Jean Putt and so many other children receiving world-class care at our own BC Children's Hospital," he added. "We are hopeful others will join us."
Brendan Woodroff, guitarist and backing vocals for Pardon My Striptease, said band members were shocked by the major donation.
"This is just above and beyond. It's absolutely incredible. It's more than we've ever expected," he said. "It brought, you know, tears to everyone's eyes in the band that, you know, we were able to raise so much awareness and attention to this place for all these kids and all these families that need the help."
Woodroff said his band got a call Thursday evening from Nickelback's management company, stating they'd be sending out a news release.
He said Pardon My Striptease members sat around, waiting in anticipation, and read the press release out when it was finally published.
Woodroff said they then called Putt and Whittle who were in shock and in tears after the announcement.
The donation is another notch for Nickelback, said Woodroff who called the popular rock group one of the "heaviest hitters in the industry," and a band that he has the utmost respect for.
The Fraser Valley band has already announced it would donate the money it raises from the single's sale to the hospital.
Earlier in the day, Putt said his band originally wanted to give him and Chelsey 50 per cent of the proceeds but then everybody decided to give all money raised from the sale of the song to the hospital.
"Just because of how much they've done for us and for Lilee and seeing all the similar stories there," said Putt. "And I mean mainly because it's kids, you know, that's really close to our hearts. And so they've made it easy as it can be on me and Chelsey, and we really need to help other families have that same experience in there."
Putt said the lives of he and his partner have been made a lot easier thanks to the hard work of a social worker at the hospital.
That social worker has arranged almost everything, said Putt, including parking, hotel bookings, support programs, transportation, and counselling, allowing he and Chelsey to focus on Lilee-Jean.
"But that costs a lot of money to be able to do that kind of stuff so they need that funding from somewhere and I think a lot of it is just from donations," he said.
As of Thursday, Pray and When We Stand Together were battling for top spot on the ITunes top 10 rock chart.
The ITunes website listed the Nickelback tune in No. 1 spot, but Woodroff, said earlier in the day that Pray had taken top spot and provided an image as support.
Putt said Pray was recorded about three months ago and was released at the beginning of the month when Lilee-Jean turned one.
He said his daughter was diagnosed in October, after he and Whittle took her to a clinic because she was tilting her head to the left a lot.
One day later, on Oct. 13, Lilee-Jean was sent for a biopsy of a glioblastoma tumour at BC Children's Hospital, said Putt.
Since his daughter's diagnosis, Putt and Whittle have been taking time off work and calling the hospital home.
"To be cliché, it's life changing," he said. "You know, now our lives are that hospital. Our home is that hospital with her, and our job is taking care of her and keeping her comfortable. It's just changed every aspect of our life."
Putt said it's tough to give a prognosis for his daughter, noting the family is still waiting to hear how chemotherapy has gone.
"Friday is a big day," he said. "She has a MRI to see what the chemo has been doing, if it's stopped it (the tumour) growing, if it's worked at all, if it's maybe shrunk it would be the best news we could get and then she would go into more surgery if it's shrunken enough."
Putt said the band doesn't plan any big shows in the immediate future but has played Pray for one Metro Vancouver TV station, and he has thanked everybody who has thought about or prayed for Lilee-Jean.