The Warrior: Alan Frew’s Inspirational Battle After a Stroke
Resilient rock star Alan Frew inspires fans in the battle of his life
No one expected the Instagram posted on Aug. 22, but it was pure Alan Frew. The lead singer of Glass Tiger, the Juno-award-winning band that was hugely successful in the mid-1980s, had typed with his left hand that he’d had a stroke two days earlier. “I have suffered right-sided trauma but I am fighting the warrior’s fight already.
I am a warrior, make no mistake about that,” he declared.
A month earlier, I’d sat in Frew’s elegant small studio as he worked with his executive assistant and sound engineer Sean Andrews. Harry, his lab-poodle cross, dozed on the floor across from a huge Paul McCartney World Tour poster signed for Frew. He sang Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” emotionally, hoping for magic moments, “things that come out of the blue,” to sweeten the already recorded song. His voice was richer than the 1985 Frew’s, richer than the once-young singers he’s covering. Among the songs: Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a massive hit for Sinéad O’Connor; “Owner of a Lonely Heart” by Yes; Human League’s “Human” and of course, Glass Tiger’s “Someday.”
I may miss a few names but a BIG #thank u to many of my fellow #musicians who have taken the time to send me emails and texts filled with #love and encouragement. #jimvallance #bryanadams #johnnyreid #honeymoonsuite #emmgryner #thespoons #trooper #michaelsadler #burtoncummings #toronto #raycoburn #platinumblonde And more ; it means a lot to me guys ; #peace #love and NO #STROKES to you all 😉 A photo posted by Alan Frew (@alan_frew) on
The boy focused on finding a new world: Canada, where his brother, 13 years his senior, lived. In his book, The Action Sandwich: A Six-Step Recipe for Success by Doing What You’re Already Doing, he describes how he insisted to friends and neighbours that the Frews were moving there, obsessively trying to sell family possessions – even a hedge; and for three years was mercilessly teased as each proclaimed moving date slipped by. But move to Newmarket, Ont., they did in 1972, when he was 16 – his father’s angry reaction to the termination of his job of more than three decades.
According to Glass Tiger’s bass player, Wayne Parker, the Frew home was Scottish Central. “Let’s just say it was colourful and loud,” he chuckles. Frew’s parents, he says, “were the salt of the earth, wonderful people, and it shows in Alan’s character.”
The fight continues one step at a time #healing #hands #Frew #solo #stroke #survivor #warrior #nosurrender A photo posted by Alan Frew (@alan_frew) on
He found love in 1988, when he met Marcy Mihalcheon on a blind date. They married in 2007, after 19 years together. She’s the founder of Marcy’s Gourmet Products, sold at premium food markets in Canada and internationally. “We’re both alphas,” Frew says. “You need that dynamic of independence that sometimes clashes, but I think that’s what makes the two of us stronger. (Their daughter loves musical theatre and plays several instruments. “She’ll be a one-woman band for sure,” he laughs.)
Many of you asking me “What can I do for you?” “What can I send you?” Thank you so much, sincerely your outpouring of love and friendship is enough. I need nothing. I am surrounded by family and dear friends. Here is what I want. Take stock of your “giving” and of your “kindness” and if you find that you THINK giving and THINK kindness a lot more than actually “doing” it, then DO something kind right now! if you wanted to send me flowers then buy some and take them into your nearest hospital or nursing home and bring a smile to a sad face. If you have an elderly lonely neighbour nearby drop in and make them a cup of tea. If you know someone struggling with cancer hold them and ask them how they really feel. If you have an extra dollar buy a homeless person a cup of coffee. THESE actions my friend are what will save this world. The anathema we witness each and every day on our televisions will NEVER conquer true #LOVE and #KINDNESS ….EVER!!! #LIGHT will #FOREVER conquer #DARK that is a #universal #truth. As an #atheist I have embraced the messages of godly love many of you have sent to me and as #believers you have embraced me back. This is what universal truth is all about. When our time comes to leave this world we will be measured by how much we #GAVE to it NOT by what we #TOOK from it. So be kind to yourselves be kind to others it is the simplest of tasks that requires no labour other than the labour of #LOVE . I am post/#stroke Day 10 and doing well. I will #WALK out of here on my own two legs never fear. #Frew #solo #warrior #stroke #survivor #GEORGE
Glass Tiger’s keyboard player, Sam Reid, notes the band’s success meant a lot of time on the road. “We’ve shared our significant others’ birthdays, anniversaries, funerals – where we couldn’t come home. That tends to bond you even tighter,” he says. In The Action Sandwich, Frew writes movingly about losing people close to him while he was out on tour, yet Parker points out that he’s “never depressed or melancholy. He’s always upbeat, always moving forward. One of his tattoos is No Surrender.”
It’s almost out of the picture 👍. #no #surrender to #stroke. #Frew #solo #survivor #love #kindness #gratitude #thanks A photo posted by Alan Frew (@alan_frew) on
In a few hours time it will be exactly two weeks since I had my #stroke. #Doctor says I had mine as I slept and in the morning ( although I knew something wasn’t right) I was able to function somewhat because the ripple effect hadn’t quite hit yet. I did not go paralyzed in my right side until several hours later. No headache no pain #stroke is a silent worker. If you have been told at anytime, at any age, that you have hypertension and or high cholesterol? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. If you already have been taking meds for such ailments DON’T STOP THEM no matter how good you are feeling. #George knows “firsthand”. #stroke #survivor #frew #solo #warrior #80s
People have asked me why I did this. Why I have been so open and vocal about having a #stroke ?Why not just hide away until better then come out as if nothing had happened? Well first of all I had to because if I hadn’t you guys would have done it for me. Not in a malicious way but you would have. It would have gone from a staff member to a staff member who is a fan to a fan who is a #socialmedia frequenter to a newspaper dude and boom! It’s out there. Of course by then I am at the mercy of rumour mill and goodness knows what I would be then. I would be paralyzed, in a coma, with no chance of a full recovery. But most importantly here is WHY WOULD I NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT? I have an opportunity here to bring to light the effects of #stroke the #roadtorecovery after #stroke and most importantly the ways in which to help you #prevent #stroke and judging by literally the thousands of messages you have posted or sent me through messenger you guys”get it.” You #KNOW why I am doing this. I have #notoriety I have a #big #voice. I have a #microphone. #The rest to me is a “no brainer.” I am saddened by my #stroke. Sad that I could have continued my meds and perhaps prevented this. Sad that I now live with having to say, ” yeah I have had my tonsils out, had an operation on my knee….and oh, yes, I have had a #stroke !” But I am NOT embarrassed by it. #Stroke unfortunately doesn’t care what age you are, it doesn’t care how fit you are or what gender, race or religion you are. It even loves #atheists 😉 and now for me being a #stroke #survivor and a #lover and #nurturer of the #human condition we call #life it is my duty and my obligation to speak out . Not to preach. Not to #soapbox it. But simply to inform you that this could be your child or your teenager or your marathon running husband or wife or this could be #YOU and you owe it to yourself or your loved ones or especially your children to take every precaution you can to not let it happen too soon. #Frew #solo #socialmedia #stroke #survivor #warrior #80s #retro #love A photo posted by Alan Frew (@alan_frew) on
So this is it. I go home today. I go home a changed man. I am a #stroke survivor like it or not. That can never change. I have my meds have my cane and out I go from the safety of my cozy “push the button for help” room to the big nasty opened spaced “get out of my fucking way” world. It’s scary I must admit . Even my home with my dog trying to devour me with love to my cats getting under my feet are thoughts filled with trepidation and fear. Two weeks ago today however I woke up on a stroke floor with no movement in my arm or leg and today I walk out of here cautiously but on my own two feet with the help of a cane so I am not complaining. I listened to the final mixes of the new CD last night and they are nothing short of wonderful. I got emotional because I heard my voice giving EVERYTHING it had. I knew I left EVERYTHING on that studio floor that I could possibly give then I went to bed and awakened as a stroke victim and I cried. The quest now is to be THAT singer. That is my goal. From here to the stage the stage where YOU live…that is my goal. A thousand mile journey truly does begin with just “ONE STEP.” I am about to prove that to you.#stroke #survivor #warrior
#emancipation A photo posted by Alan Frew (@alan_frew) on
So I left home on that fateful day as #Alan only to return #home changed #forever as #George. #life truly does live on the “turn of a #card”. It really does perch on the “edge of a dime” ready to change instantly and without warning. The last time I was in this house I call my #home I had just finished the very last note of the very last song on my new #CD and went to bed exhausted but euphoric that I had finally reached the peak of the mountain only to find my world come crashing down from a #stroke that would take place in my brain during that well-deserved sleep. Well now that mountain has become “Everest” and I am in my bare feet and have no choice but to climb it. And so climb it I shall. I continue to grow stronger each day and am able to face the challenge of working my arm and my leg with more strength each time. I MUST emphasis that my #stroke is considered mild ( I would hate to order a medium) and I remain so positive that I was given a peek but am being allowed to come back better than ever. I have been asked to give two national interviews ; one to #etcanada and another to #ctv which I have agreed to do in keeping with my desire to speak out about #stroke #hypertension #cholesterol etc and the need to take it seriously. I was always quoted as saying that I thrived on #stress but then again …….that was Alan.
I don’t know why my last post accompanying this photo has not shown up please read on FB A photo posted by Alan Frew (@alan_frew) on
During my last conversation with my #doctor before heading home I said,” So Doc, tell me please, am I a…..?” “YES!,” he cut me off mid-sentence. ” How do you know what I was going to ask?” Without hesitation he said,” You were going to ask me if you are now a higher risk to have another #stroke.” And I was indeed. Of course I was for right now it is front and centre in my mind and it’s difficult to shake it. Doc told me that just by virtue of having a #stroke you immediately are considered a higher risk to have another. Your body has shown that it knows how to have one therefore it rests it’s case and calls you #higher #risk. Now the good news. I am actually in the best shape I have been since being a young turk. My weight is good, I swim daily all year round and I eat well. Alcohol consumption is way down #sugar consumption is nominal #trans #fats minimal so why then did this happen? Well we know I have lived a stressful life as many of us do but for me it’s the fact that my high #cholesterol was and is out of the control of my #diet. That is to say I could eat tree bark all day and STILL have high cholesterol thus giving me #hypertension. Turns out my high cholesterol is #hereditary Get checked guys no matter how fit you are how lean you are get checked. It’s simple easy and will put your mind at ease. By the way if you are #overweight have no form of #exercise in your life eating crap and knowing it and blaming the world for your problems I have news for you the odds of you having a first stroke are better than the odds of me having a second one. Hey! You did give me the microphone after all 😉 #justsaying