The annual Jefferson City street party known as Angiepalooza is a time for remembering those who have lost their battle with cancer, but for Reiana Barton the event holds a much deeper meaning. It’s named after her mother, Angie Capps-Tinnin, who was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer October 31, 2011 and passed away a year later. Searching for a way to honor her mother, her family and friends came up with this event. The first Angiepalooza was held in 2013 at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fair Grounds and then moved to downtown the following year. The benefit concert featuring several local bands supports the Angie Capps-Tinnin, ACT, project.
We sat down with Reiana to talk more about the event and her experience losing her mother.
Reiana Barton: This event was a collaborative effort between my step-father Tim Tinnin and my mother’s best friend, Lindsay Williams. They wanted to create an event that would memorialize my mom while also helping so many others who were suffering as our family had. They wanted a way to remember and honor those who have lost their battle with cancer while still creating a fun event that brings people together.
Because I was in high school when Angiepalooza first began, I was more of a supporter but as I have gotten older, I have taken on larger roles in helping with this event and I am currently the Event Staff Coordinator where I lead all volunteers who work the event.
It’s the non-profit side of Angiepalooza. All of the proceeds of the evening go towards funding small projects at local cancer hospitals and eventually will help families struggling with cancer directly.
The initial feeling I got when we found out was mainly fear. She had been diagnosed on Halloween of 2011 and I was only 16 years old at the time. When you are told that the person closest to you has cancer your entire world flips upside down.
As my mom saw more doctors, we found out she was only being given 2-5 years to live. Fear immediately turned into anger because I felt it wasn’t fair that this was happening to my family, to my mom. Angie was a hardworking, caring individual who loved her job and her children and could make anyone around her smile and laugh. I couldn’t believe that something like this would happen to a woman who, in my eyes, could do absolutely no wrong.
As time passed, my mom began chemotherapy but unfortunately things were not getting better. Being the oldest child, I had the feeling that I needed to be the one to take care of my family. Knowing that my mom wasn’t going to make it made me much more protective of my siblings and it made me grow up much faster than if she hadn’t died when I was still young. Ultimately my mother’s passing made me into who I am today but going through an experience like that as a teenager is definitely something that takes a toll on you.
My mom had a very loud and fun-loving personality. We were always extremely close and she was really the type of person I wanted to grow up into. One of my favorite memories of my mom was anytime we were in the car together we’d play “Name That Tune” and almost every car ride was a karaoke session. Singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Don’t Stop Believing” at the top of our lungs will always be one of my favorite things we did together. Another memory that I always hold close was just the endless amount of advice and love that she gave myself and my siblings.
If there was one thing I could say about my mom, it was that she loved her children with all she had and I feel incredibly lucky that I am her daughter.
I think the main thing that I want people to take away from Angiepalooza is that you can turn any bad situation into something good. Losing my mom to cancer has been one of the hardest things I have had to go through but by working with my family and Angiepalooza I am able to focus on turning our loss into something good rather than focusing on the negative.
The 5th annual Angiepalooza will be held on September 24, 2016 in downtown Jefferson City. For more information check out the event’s Facebook page.