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A Pink performance to cherish for Wallan’s Jane Baker

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Grace Frost
Grace Frost
Hi, I'm Grace Frost. I was honoured to report for the Review as their Digital Journalist from mid-2022 to the beginning of 2024. Ive since made a move to the Herald Sun.

By Grace Frost

Friends and family of Wallan’s Jane Baker ‘pictured a place where it all doesn’t hurt’ at the Northern Hospital in Epping last week, when a surprise concert was delivered to the palliative care unit.

After a year-long fight with stage four cancer proved unsuccessful, Ms Baker was told she had weeks left to live, leaving her with the challenge of saying goodbye to her loved ones.

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Jane Baker, seated, with her partner Mel Andrews at the Northern Hospital in Epping.

Ms Baker’s partner of 18 years, Mel Andrews, delivered the news to friends, including Wallan’s Lauren Fanelli, who was left devastated.

“She told me Jane only had two to four weeks to live, and that she’d requested I come say goodbye to her. I was obviously very emotional,” Ms Fanelli said.

Ms Fanelli wanted to deliver ‘a moment in time’ for Ms Baker to treasure at her final visit to her friend.

“I can’t give her a gift, I can’t give her a present, I don’t want to be sitting in the room and be crying with her. I want to give her joy for the time she has left,” she said.

Knowing Ms Baker was an avid Pink fan and would miss out on the singer’s 2024 concert tour, she came up with an idea.

“Crazy me thought ‘nothing’s impossible’, so I wrote it on my Facebook as a status saying ‘does anyone know how I can contact Pink?’,” she said.

The word has, so far, reached both a producer and musician on tour with Pink.

Lauren Fanelli organised for Jane Baker, right, to send singer Pink a video message in the hope of hearing back from her whilst Jane remains in palliative care.

While Ms Baker waited to hear from the singer, entrepreneur Benjamin Gregory and singer Amber Sindoni ‘Ambraya’ worked with Ms Fanelli to deliver a smaller scale Pink-style concert of their own at the Northern Hospital.

The concert was a complete surprise to Ms Baker, who joined friends to hear sentimental Pink songs ‘Trustfall’ and ‘Try’ sung live.

Amber Sindino ‘Ambraya’ is accompanied by Benjamin Gregory at the Northern Hospital’s palliative care ward to sing two songs for Wallan’s Jane Baker.

The performance evoked tears, hugs and laughter as long-time friends surrounded Ms Baker.

Ms Andrews said the tribute ‘meant everything’ to her partner of 18 years.

“Jane came home on Saturday. I think it hit home for her […] that she’s not going to come back home,” she said.

“It’s great what Lauren’s done, to pull it off like that, it’s just amazing… Jane had no idea what was going on.”

Watch above as a small scale Pink concert, organised by Lauren Fanelli and executed by Benjamin Gregory and Amber Sindoni, delivers a joyous surprise to Jane Baker at the Northern Hospital in Epping.

Ms Baker’s high spirits pierced the looming sense of sadness, eager to leave positive memories for her friends and family in her final weeks.

“Before, I struggled, like when I was first diagnosed. But, I’m at peace with it now, because my saying is ‘it is what it is’,” she said.

“I can’t change it, but I can make it happy for the people that are around me, because I know it’s going to be sad when I’m gone.”

Ms Baker urged the community to trust in themselves with regards to their health.

She had originally been told by doctors mid last year when her health began to decline that it was merely gastro.

“If you feel something is wrong and your doctor’s not saying ‘we should do this, or we should do that’, press it, press it hard,” she said.

“I went into the Northern in a diabetic coma, and came out with cancer.

“Bowel cancer is curable … People have got to remember that when you’re over 50, you’ve got to do the tests, you’ve got to push it.

“If I can help somebody that just gets relief and a family doesn’t have to go through this, because cancer is a [messed] up disease.”

Ms Baker praised staff at the Northern Hospital, where she said she had received the utmost of care.

“Here, at the Northern, I can say and cross my heart, I haven’t got anything but excellent treatment,” she said.

Ms Baker has been surrounded by her loved ones at the Northern, spending her time bringing joy to nurses and fellow patients while planning her funeral.

She was especially grateful to Ms Fanelli, who had successfully organised ‘a moment in time’ for her.

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