My Music and Me: Grace’s Story
New Yorker Grace Testani has been singing in the jazz scene for most of her life. A professional singer and composer, Grace has performed in famous clubs such as Birdland, Blue Note and Village Gate, and received praise for her voice from the JazzTimes Magazine, The New York Post and LA Jazz Scene. In addition to her passion for music, Grace describes herself as a technology geek. She’s also an entrepreneur who started and runs a successful computer consulting company.
“I was a professional musician. I was doing quite well, and all my dreams were coming true,” Grace remembers.
In 2003, Grace was diagnosed with cancer. She went through infusion chemotherapy for a year and was in remission for three years. She hit the stage again once she felt her immune system was strong.
“I was performing. Standing up doing a full hour jazz performance is a physical activity. I was in great shape and I was able to fight that first cancer,” says Grace.
But soon after, in 2008, her doctors discovered new issues and she began treatment for breast cancer. She stayed on treatment for another two years and underwent chemotherapy, followed by a year of radiation treatment. Despite all of the challenges Grace faced, she found hope and comfort in singing.
“I was still able to sing, so that kept me going, and my faith. My music was supporting me,” says Grace.
Throughout her journey, Grace spent her savings to pay for treatment expenses. As the money ran out, she became increasingly worried about her future. During a conversation with a social worker, Grace learned about the PAN Foundation.
“I looked PAN up on the internet, then I called and got the grant. PAN helped me get through the third round of cancer. Thank you so much. You’ve been unbelievably wonderful,” says Grace.
Today, Grace is no longer able to sing like she did before, but she continues to give singing lessons. And, she has advice for singers and non-singers alike: "Breathe. Breathe a lot."