The American Cancer Society states that “1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.” One organization is working in the fight to end breast cancer, but this organization has taken a unique approach–a music-minded one. Breast Cancer Can Stick It was started by drummer April Samuels in late 2010. Samuels, the founder of Breast Cancer Can Stick It, is a breast cancer survivor and life-long drummer. After she was diagnosed in 2010 with breast cancer, she decided to use her interest and passion for drumming in a way that could help in the fight against breast cancer. She’s now cancer free, but is still devoted to ending breast cancer. Tom Tom recently spoke with Samuels about her organization and love of drumming.
Could you briefly summarize your organization and how you were inspired to start it?
I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2010. And three weeks after that I came up with the slogan “Breast Cancer Can Stick It” cause I’m a drummer. We came up with a logo. We started out just selling shirts with that logo and started donating to organizations in the fight against breast cancer.
The bulk of our events are in October.We do anything from concerts to motorcycle rides to minor league baseball games to speaking engagements to Girl Scout meetings. Most of the events are music-minded in some ways. When we did the minor league baseball game, we brought an electronic drum kit. People could donate to play the drums for awhile.
We’ve had support from folks like had Rikki Rockett of Poison, Jimmy D’Anda of Bullet Boys, and A. J. Pero of Twisted Sister.Each year we’re picking up more celebrities. Joe of Def Leppard recently wore a Breast Cancer Can Stick It shirt when introducing Kiss in New Jersey. The more Breast Cancer Can Stick It is known, the more funds we can raise and the more we can do in the fight against breast cancer.
I noticed in a video, you first stopped drumming all together after receiving the diagnoses in 2010? How’d you get back to it?
At the time of my diagnoses, I was playing in four or five bands. It was pretty busy. knew I needed to focus on my health. I wasn’t sure how chemo was going to affect me physically, and it was very tiring. So I’m glad I took a break.
I took a break from the end of October 2010 to April 2011. Those groups I rejoined with. My first gig back was in June of 2011.
You’re cancer free now?
Your cancer free date is the day the cancer was actually removed and that was on November, 10, 2010. I had had a double mastectomy. Then, four months of chemo. That was the treatment for me.
Was drumming therapeutic for you? Did it help you in anyway get through the cancer?
I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been– strength wise and fit wise. A lot more fit and stronger than I was before cancer.
I do have more challenges. Chemo comprised my immune system. It had an adverse affect on my allergies. After chemo, I had a lot of back problems.
In April 2012, I started playing with Metal Shop. I’m a lot stronger. I had a passion for drumming since I was about five years old. So it’s always been my happy place.
Have you met more drummers who have had breast cancer?
Rikki Rockett, introduced me to [Athena Lee] She used to be married to James Kottak, drummer for the Scorpions and she’s also Tommy Lee’s (of Mötley Crüe) sister. She’s a drummer and a breast cancer survivor. I met and talked to hear. It was really cool to chat with her. She’s the only one I can think of that is a drummer and a breast cancer survivor.
Who can be involved in your org?
Volunteers from all different walks of life. Men, women, musicians–anyone wants to volunteer can definitely volunteer.
We want to form a community of drummers and have them feel more a part of this as Breast Cancer Can Stick It grows.
What else do you want to say about your organization or going through breast cancer?
I feel that going through breast cancer was a really odd blessing. It brought me to this organization and being able to help other people.
I’ve met so many survivors. That network of survivors is so important to your recovery.
This is what I’m born to do. Sometimes you travel through life and not sure which way you’re really going. And then it narrows down and you’re like, “Oh that’s why all those things happened’. I’m going focus on this, work on this, and get rid of breast cancer once and for all.
Here’s some Upcoming Events for Breast Cancer Can Stick It.
January 9, 2015 – Inversion band, Grover’s in Frisco, TX. Facebook event link here.
April 4, 2015 – Gladiator Girl Run, Dallas, TX
April Samuels also endorses Rockett Drum Works, Aquarian Drumheads, Sabian Cymbals, and Silverfox Drumsticks.