It’s apparent within an hour of meeting her that fellow cancer survivor Laura Fial has a captivatingly positive personality that epitomizes the meaning of life.
Fial, a 46-year-old Scottsdale resident who battled breast cancer in 2000 and 2003, is co-founder of the Sing for Life Breast Cancer Foundation of Arizona. The group’s key element is its Soul Survivors musical group, with each singer a breast cancer survivor or close to someone who is.
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Fial and the group will perform at the Par Exsalonce Salon and Day Spa at Market Street in D.C. Ranch. For $35, women will receive two minispa services per person — massage, body treatment, makeup, hair fluff or nail polish change — on a first-come, first-served basis. Hors d’oeuvres, wine, gourmet coffee and desserts will be provided. All proceeds will benefit Fial’s foundation.
Listening to Fial, one feels energized and inspired with her story of angst from the initial diagnosis when she was turning 40 to where she has come six years later. In 2000, she also was in the middle of a divorce and had to learn to cope with a rapidly changing lifestyle.
Throughout her ordeal, including having her left breast removed, Fial maintained the strength to not only survive but become a more fulfilled person who wants to make others aware of the fight against breast cancer.
“My idea along with my cofounder, Marilyn Nierenberg-Shaoul (who died last year), was to bring women with breast cancer together to help them heal through music,” said Fial, an accomplished vocalist. “I’m not a music therapist, but I understand the power of music. I felt sorry for myself for a while when I was first diagnosed. It was ‘Happy birthday, you have cancer,’ but not something (like a gift) you could take back to the store.
“Cancer teaches you a lot. You become humbled. My life was falling apart at the seams but I got through it. My life will never be the same. I just want to share all that I’ve gotten from my situation and give back to the community.”
Salon owner Donna Parr, also a breast cancer survivor, knew Fial as a client. When Parr and her husband, John, found out about Fial’s group, they wanted to help. Also, salon stylists will do the hair and makeup of each member of The Soul Survivors.
“We, too, wanted to do something for the community,” Donna Parr said. “We’re working with some really neat people in this project. This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we’re happy to be able to do our part.”
The Soul Survivors have two CDs, “Come take my hand” and “Soul Survivors Live and Friends.” They are available at www.breastcancer cd2000.com.
The Soul Survivors performs free at fundraisers throughout the Valley. Funds generated through CD sales and sponsorships help offset production costs. The Sing for Life Breast Cancer Foundation will award at least one annual scholarship in the name of the singing group.
As part of Sunday’s event, Scarp, a ladies fashion shoe store on Market Street, will donate a percentage of its sales Saturday and Sunday to the breast cancer CD Web site.
The Soul Survivors also will perform 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 26 at Picazzo’s in the Scottsdale Promenade. There’s a $25 per-person and $40 per-couple donation for food and nonalcoholic beverages. Admission and proceeds from an auction will benefit Fial’s foundation and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.