Tragically Hip cover band singer battles terminal cancer

When Darren Sawchuk sings “There’s no dress rehearsal, this is our life,” the words hold a new meaning.

The Winnipeg lawyer plays in Tragically Hip cover band 59 Divide, but he has more than a melody in common with his musical idol: Sawchuk also has untreatable cancer.

“When you hear lyrics to Ahead by a Century … really, those that are given a warning signal that you only have a certain amount of time left, you do what you can during that time to make the most of every day,” he said.

In May, the band announced on its website that Gord Downie, the lead singer and lyricist of the iconic Canadian rock band, has terminal brain cancer. The band nevertheless went ahead with planning a cross-country tour in support of their album Man Machine Poem and will play in Winnipeg on Friday.

Sawchuck was told in March that his cancer couldn’t be treated.

“There is a certain connection that you have with other people who have received that kind of diagnosis, and I immediately felt for his close family and friends and for what they are going through.”