Son writes song for cancer-stricken mother
by Bradley Hartsell
In July of 2013, the Dennis family traveled to Panama City for vacation. Angela Dennis hadn’t been feeling well for the better part of a month and it was far from the family home in Newnan that Angela Dennis was taken to the hospital. The doctors found a mass inside her.
Angela Dennis, director of the Coweta 4-H Horse and Pony Club, has been battling stage 3 ovarian cancer. She began treatment at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta before recently turning to Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southeastern in Newnan.
“We had no idea it was cancer. It was a very, very quick thing,” said son Stephen. “She had pain for maybe a month. It was a big shocker to everybody, not something you want to hear on vacation.”
Stephen Dennis felt compelled to do something for his mother, even if it was as simple as writing a song. Dennis ended up with “She’s Strong,” a tribute to his fighting mother.
Dennis says he went into his mother’s bedroom the night before her first chemotherapy treatment. He told her he had something for her and began to play. When he started singing the lyrics, she realized the song was for her.
Dennis’ friend who owns a recording studio in Fayetteville expressed interest in recording the song professionally. After spending several weeks in the studio, the song was sent to Nashville for backup vocals and again for mastering.
Last week, the song debuted on iTunes and caught the attention of 94.9 The Bull’s Backyard Country Show. The show has been taking votes and Dennis hopes his song gets enough local support to stay in the rotation.
“I worked on it three or four months and it finally came together,” Dennis said. “I wanted to make it special for my mom. So far, she’s been completely blown away by the attention it’s received.”
Last Friday, at Crossroads Church, the family’s church of 19 years, Dennis held a song-release event for his mother. It was the first time she was able to hear the fully recorded version. The evening highlighted Dennis’ song and allowed the church to pray for Angela Dennis.
“She was blown away [by the event]. She’s been in a lot of pain and in and out of hospital since February. She has been home only a handful of days, so it was special to her.”
Dennis says cancer societies have reached out to him regarding use of the song, something rewarding to both him and his mother.
Beyond an inspiring song and a supportive community, the Dennis family feels a renewed sense of hope since Angela moved to CTCA.
“It gave us a new sense of hope,” Dennis explained. “It’s provided a lot more encouragement and hope. She’s felt more fight in her now just hearing good news.”
Rachel Fautsch has worked with Angela Dennis for the past two years since Fautsch joined 4-H at the Coweta Extension Office. Fautsch spoke glowingly about Dennis’ work with 4-H and hopes to see her back on the job soon.
“Angela is imperative to our Horse and Pony Club, which is one of the largest in the state, primarily because of her influence,” Fautsch said.
The news that rocked the family last summer has given the family, Stephen Dennis in particular, a newfound perspective.
“I’ve learned to always value the time you have with your family. Here we were enjoying our vacation and, all of the sudden, our lives completely change,” he said. “This has made me re-evaluate my relationships. I would say my mother has felt the same way. For us to mend broken relationships, to value family time and never quit fighting.”