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A true heartfelt story about a dream and a circle of love - by Lisa Boccanera

Well, as fate should happen, this great vast world is sometimes smaller than we think; and all awhile I just kept thinking, my own story is slightly similar.

During the concert when Marillion was playing; I happen to notice one of the cameras moving in my direction. Jokingly, while hyped up from all the happiness of seeing my favourite band playing, I nudged a girl standing next to me and told her "Look we might be on the DVD!" Little did I know at that moment, the story she (Sophie) would tell me over the noise of the crowd, would stick with me until even this very moment that I am writing...

Marc and Sophie both grew up in the south shore of Montreal and met at work in 2001. In 2004, they began dating and over time, grew madly in love with each other. Marc was very healthy and athletic but on one casual day he began having heartburn. When it didn't go away, the doctor suggested having test. Suddenly, they both found themselves in tears when the doctors gave the news of a discovered tumour the size of an orange.

On December 9th, they said it was too big to remove, and even with chemo, the cancer was so aggressive that it began to attack the liver. Only after 6 weeks since being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; on January 23rd, four days after his 51st birthday, he passed away.

One thing that she remembers is that during the stay in the hospital, the first thing that he said to her was "I've got a ticket for the Marillion Weekend in April and I want to be there! I will fight this and win; I'm going to be the Lance Armstrong of Montreal!” And he did fight, even until the last minute.

Marc was a huge fan of Marillion; having almost every album and DVD they came out with including his two favourites Brave and Marbles. And even though Sophie wasn't as big of a fan as he was, her memories of him playing Marillion, makes her feel closer to him. Even at the hospital, he kept asking her to bring him his Marbles by the Sea Special Edition CD.

When he first passed away, she stopped listening to them because it would have been too difficult with all of her memories of them listening to Marillion together. However when Sophie and their dear friend Pascale (a close friend that was also a huge Marillion fan like Marc) decided to go to the show, it suddenly became clear that this would be something more than a concert; it was a way to honour his memory as well as help them through their grief.

When they arrived, Sophie brought her photo of Marc in hopes to leave it on the side of the stage so that his spirit could be with them. She even thought about leaving a note with it, in hopes that h would see it and possibly agree to leave Marc’s photo there the whole weekend.

But, while waiting in line on the opening night, Pascale had an idea to see if they could talk to Lucy Jordache when they got inside. With swarming fans crowding the halls, they handed Lucy the note that she wrote. After Lucy read it, she went up to Sophie and hugged her very tight while telling her how she understood what she was going through and how she too had lost both her Mother and Stepmother from cancer as well.

Both Sophie and Pascale were taken by surprise when Lucy immediately brought Marc’s photo backstage to the band. They were both so moved by Lucy's kindness that they began crying and hugging each other.

Little did they know at the time, was the strength and love that would follow over the next few days. Every night, Marillion didn't just place Marc’s photo on the side of the stage; they placed his photo On the stage where they played and moved it to a different location every night. The first night it was on Ian Mosley's drum set, another night it was near Steve Rothery, then Pete Trewavas etc.

Every night as Sophie watched what they had done; she would see the expression in Marc's eyes change in the photo from the different lights onstage while they were playing and felt as if  Marc was with her when they played the song Fantastic Place.

Even though they didn't dedicate a song to him, she believes it was because they wanted to be discrete and respectful; and when she met Steve Hogarth after the show and told him her story, he felt very moved by it as well and gave her a big hug. He also signed the back of her photograph of Marc that she now feels has great positive energy through the journey it has been through and keeps it by her bedside to remind her of all that has happened.

One thing she told me though, in which I believe myself, this would not have been possible if it weren't for Lucy's generosity and kindness. And so, for this, all of us - thank you.

First posted on the Web UK website in 2009.



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Photo © Alison Toon
Photo © Alison Toon
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