By: Katia (blogger for Commemoi.ca – the French version of Someonelikeme.ca)
On October 18th and 19th, I was lucky enough to be offered a unique volunteering opportunity in Montreal. I represented F.U.MS, the foundation started by Billy Talent’s drummer, Aaron Solowoniuk, who himself lives with MS. Accompanied by my sister, my mandate was to sell F.U.MS t-shirts as well as distribute buttons for the MS Society’s www.someonelikeme.ca website. As fans of the band, we last saw them in Quebec City three years ago and were really excited for these Montreal concerts; we were going to have the chance to attend their concert, not once but twice, at the Metropolis!
In the end, our promotion of F.U.MS and www.someonelikeme.ca at the concerts created a lot of awareness. Young fans, when learning about Aaron’s condition, felt concerned. Back when I learned about it, I remember having a similar reaction: how can he have MS and drum in a band?? How did he make this work with the amount of energy that shows and tours must demand? I was immediately very impressed, but mostly inspired.
While I unfortunately did not have the chance to meet all the Billy Talent members, I had the chance to talk to Aaron briefly after both concerts. I managed to get his signature on our passes and had enough time to ask about his power saving techniques: rest and therapeutic massages. Aaron, a Rebif user since his diagnosis, is greatly affected by fatigue. He therefore needs to be disciplined and keep his energy as much as he can by resting during the days that the band plays.
During the second show, when the singer Ben Kowalewicz introduced Aaron as the inspiration for everyone in the group, I felt there was unconditional support from his fellow musicians. Aaron was not surprised: “We’ve known each other more than twenty years. That’s much stronger than any disease”.
The song How it Goes, written for Aaron by Ben just following his MS diagnosis, says: “You can steal my body but you cannot steal my soul”. MS never stole Aaron’s soul; he still has it and puts it all in his performances, with all of his strength. Aaron and his bandmates feed off the energy, applause and screams of the crowd, so they can continue to inspire…