The Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society

Archive for the month “November, 2008”

First Annual BABZ Chula Event

First Annual BABZ, A Fundraising Event Benefiting Babz Chula

November 6, 2008

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Live Performances by The Wet Spots, Wyckham Porteous, Steven Drake, Jim Byrnes, John Mann, Jenny Magenta, Rachael Chatoor, Laura Doyle & DJ Chris Kalhoon.

Babz, one of the most treasured matriarchal actresses in the Vancouver Film Community, is now engaged in her third battle with cancer. Babz is currently fighting two types of cancer; breast cancer that has metastasized to the liver, and a non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which lives in the blood. To ensure Babz has access to everything she needs to regain her health, close friends from the Canadian film industry (Ben Ratner/Moving Malcolm; Nick Lea/X-Files; Gabrielle Miller/Corner Gas and others) have banded together and formed a small charitable society, The Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society.

Space has been generously provided by The Caprice with additional support from the Union of B.C. Performers (UBCP), Wendy D Photography, ClubZone, Collingwood Management, Vancouver Actors Guide, Ultra Press Printing, & The Lyric School of Acting and a Special Thanks to Woody Jeffreys for event promotion.

The Society is presently focussed on raising funds to support Babz in her struggle to regain her health. It is the Society’s goal and Babz’ wishes that the Society continue on indefinitely. To support the very same community of artists who continue to give their support to her. Unfortunately though, the support we’ve received hasn’t been enough to fully cover her long-term treatments. As Babz is unable to continue with Chemotherapy, it’s of utmost importance that we meet the demand for alternative healing measures.

Click here to see photos from the event

Click here to see video from the event

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Cancer, Love, and More Cancer

It’s Wednesday.  November 5th, 2008.  Tomorrow is the Big Event.  I’ve been gearing up to it for weeks now.  I’m still trying to find the words I need for my speech and I want to pick up a pair of slippers to match what I’m wearing, but pretty much, I’m ready.

I’d been spending time lately sort of planning out the next move for myself.  I looked into places that I could visit where I would step into the next stage of healing.   There are clinics all over the world that have programs designed for people “living with cancer”.  Often they include education about diet, exercise and lifestyle.  Sometimes colonics, massage and acupuncture are included in the fee as well, and often you are close to a body of water, or there is a pool, so that the journey toward health is really quite luxurious.   It also makes up for the stringent dietary limitations (raw, vegan, wheatgrass) in these places, just in case you were about to mistake the experience for a “holiday”.  It felt good  to think that I was almost well enough to consider big changes and that I could, perhaps, begin to take some risks:   A glass of wine with dinner or a candy bar.   I considered that after all the sacrifices I’d made, and all the progress in respect to overcoming this disease, it was likely that my immune system  would even be able to withstand a trip to Rajastan or Mexico City.  I bought a new camera.

On Sunday night I felt a bit punky.  I was tired and sluggish, and for the prior few days had carried around a vague headache and achy muscles.  Then I found the lump.  It was under my arm, my left arm, the same spot where seven years ago they fished out lymph nodes that would be implicated in my breast cancer.  After the initial heart stopping moment, once I’d thought it through with a straight head, I decided it wasn’t a bad thing.Was I crazy?   This was a spongy, somewhat painful lump, not like cancer, and my oncologist had not detected it last week when I had a check up, so after a few deep breaths I realized I was overreacting, and cancer was probably only a remote possibility.  In fact, a ridiculous and paranoid projection.  More like an infection. Yeah, that’s right. Whew!

Monday I had a CT Scan and blood tests. Tuesday, late afternoon, I saw the doctor.  We looked at the blood tests, and the results of the CT Scan from the day before.  It’s the breast cancer, he said.  We’ve got to hit it hard with a big hammer, or you will not live past February.

Whenever they say stuff like that, I always think how do THEY know when I going to die?  What kind of arrogance gives them permission to play God?  But this guy, this oncologist, and I have been to war together.  This is not just some cold, analytical response from a relative stranger.  This man has become my friend.  My family.  I said please don’t pump me full of drugs and diminish the quality of my life just so I can squeeze an extra month or two out of this life.  Please look at me and tell me I can actually kick this thing. Tell me the truth about my chances of survival.  I am not going to go thru with this and die from treatment.  With tears in his eyes, he turned his swivel chair to me, and looked me square in the face.  You don’t want to die, do you?  I shook my head.  Then, let’s get started!   We shared a slow smile.

I’m not sure if he answered my questions, but I keep seeing that slow smile, and that is where my trust lies.  I trust the twinkle behind those eyes and the warmth that embraced me as his head moved up and down in a “yes”.  Ok.  I’m going with him on this.  I have to. So, right here, right now, marks the beginning of new hope.  I am going to kick this cancer in the ass.  Watch me.

I went straight to Walter’s office.  Dr. Lemmo.  Talk about family.  I just may be the luckiest person on the planet.  You cannot imagine the amount of love surrounding me and my family.  Honestly, think of what you can do with so much love.  I do believe one could even…dare I say?   heal.  I bet that much love could even make a miracle happen

But no matter what happens, there cannot be a better feeling in all the world than knowing you are loved.  If this cancer wins, and I do not survive this challenge, please know that it was just my time to go, because love of this quality and duration is so beautiful and so powerful that it can’t be wrong.  There are things we just don’t understand.  Isn’t that why life is considered a mystery in the first place?

So, Walter.  He and I are working out a support plan for when the chemo begins.  I will let you all know the details once it’s worked out, based on the kind of chemo, and the amount of the dosages.  There is some difficulty getting BCMedical to approve payment for one of the drugs my oncologist wants to administer, but I’m going to try not to stress out about all that right now.

And, please don’t forget the event on Thursday night.  It will be so nice to see you there. I’ll be that woman in the room that’s shining. I’ll be basking in the light from all your love.

Who is Babz Chula?

Reprinted from Production Heads.com

Most of you by now, have met, worked with or heard of Babz Chula. Hopefully many of you have heard about the Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society and maybe even donated some of your hard earned cash tohelping save her quality of life, if not her life itself. For those of you who have not yet met her, this article is intended for you. And it was originally intended to be a one-on-one with the Babz herself. But as one can imagine, she’s a bit busy putting up the fight of her life, for her life, with naturopathic, chemo & Ukrain treatments.

But there’s more than one way to get to know a woman. Through her friends. And Babz has many. Many amazing, selfless, generous friends who have come together to support her in reaching two goals. One, to live. And two, to leave behind a legacy.

I intended to weave the responses I received from Ben Ratner, Bruce Ramsay, Suleka Mathew and Nick Lea into a story — A story about people coming together, creating something positive out of something bleak, the overcoming of obstacles, creating community around a cause, around Babz — until I read their replies, as their words speak for themselves.
How did you come to know Babz?

Ben: Everyone knows Babz. She’s one of those people who even if you’ve never met her, as soon as you do it feels like you already know her. She’s like a kid walking up to you on the playground saying, “Hi, I’m Babz, wanna play?” Then before recess is over she’s your new best friend.

Bruce: Love. I love Babz dearly. I’ve not known her long but have of course always seen the beauty in her. She’s the type of person who attracts others to her. I met her through Ben and I don’t even know when.

Suleka: Honestly, can’t remember. She’s one of those people if you talk to for awhile, you feel like you’ve known her your whole life.

Nick: I met Babz on a movie we did together in the late 1900’s called The Raffle. She was supportive and funny as hell.
How did you come to create/become a member of the society?

Ben: Babz has a very capable, loving husband and a supportive family, but raising the kind of funds necessary to cover her treatment is a major undertaking, and takes a whole crew. Getting started was very easy.

Suleka: As we are all her friends, we ended up getting together to discuss ideas, and within weeks, boom, the society was born.

Nick: I became a member of this society because I had to. I HAD to help. She deserves all the love and support that comes her way. We started the Society knowing that we could make a difference in Babz’s journey by trading on something that we were in contact with- recognizable people within the industry that we knew would lend a helping hand.

Bruce: Nick called me up and told me some people were getting together to help Babz. And I said, without pause. In.

Ben: The challenge now is keeping things running smoothly and professionally, so the dough can keep coming in, and everyone who contributes has a good time doing so. Although most of us don’t have experience with running charitable organizations, we reached out to experienced people and they guided us through every step. At our second meeting I got up to go to the bathroom, and when I came back three minutes later I was told they had voted me in as President of The Babz Chula Lifeline For Artists Society. It’s a great honour to have my friends’ trust me enough to have me represent us and what we’re doing. Nick Lea was made Vice President, but he insists on being referred to as “Mr. Senior Vice President.”
What are you aiming to accomplish in the short term? Long term?

Nick: We are trying, firstly, to accumulate enough funds to cover Babz’s VERY expensive treatment costs. Because her specific treatment is not covered by BC Med, she is essentially left to her own devices to pay for it. Medical will only pay for Chemotherapy.

Ben: Long term — all of us like the idea of this organization being on-going, something that can aide other artists who find themselves in serious medical crisis with nowhere to turn. But first, we have to focus on financing Babz healing process, and that alone is a huge challenge. Babz wants this to be her legacy, and we’re all determined to see that happen.
What kind of response have you received so far? From those offering auction items to those bidding, donating and visiting the site, sharing their stories?

Ben: Overwhelming. Inspiring. Uplifting.

Suleka: We’ve spent so much time in the past few months working out details of the auction, the website, the release to the press, I must admit, we had no idea of the huge wave of offers that came from all around the community of different fundraising ideas. So as we marvel about this generosity, we are starting to look at these new ideas and figure out how best to incorporate them.

Ben: Just read the message board and you can see how much one person’s journey can effect others’ lives and give them hope. Most of the stuff on the site has bids already, and the whole community has come forward offering their time, their wares, and their talents.
If you had to choose only one moment/memory of/with Babz to define your love for and friendship with her, what would that moment be?

Ben: It’s her laugh. She’s got a giggle that’s equal parts mischievous little girl, hippy stoner, and wise old lady. The thought of a world without that laugh is something it’s way too soon to imagine.

Suleka: I had the privilege of dressing her in her sari for her very beautiful wedding to darling Larry. Having those couple hours with her, talking, laughing and being quiet with her while negotiating five yards of cream silk around her on a truly significant day felt like a high honor.

Nick: When I see Babz at our dining room table during our strategy meetings for the Society, she is burned out and beat down not only by the burden of her disease but by the energy that she is robbed of her during her treatments and she still makes me laugh my ass off.

Check out http://www.babzchulasociety.org to find out more about Babz, her fight, her friends, the online, the donations, the blog, the facebook…

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