By Joe Warmington, Sun Media
First came the plane crash.
Then the cancer.
So Angie Koliakos knows even being at the U2 concert last night is both a mystery and a miracle.
Angie knows Bono is not singing specifically about her, a 48-year-old Toronto woman, but she says as far as she is concerned, he is.
The legendary singer sings about war, struggle, love, forgiveness, faith and survival, and Angie knows about each and every one.
"Bono says we have one life, one love, you've got to do what you can," she said last night.
"U2 has been an inspiration to me as far back as I can remember, but most important it has helped me heal through the tragedies in my life."
And she is not kidding. In August 2003, while visiting the nation's capital, she accepted the invitation of a Bell co-worker to take a flight in his airplane. "I remember him telling me we were in trouble because he could not control the plane," she said. "Moments later we were crashed in a farmer's field."
She said the pilot, 50-year-old Peter Caverly, was killed instantly. "He took the brunt of the impact and was pushed right into me," she said. "If not for him I would not have lived. I tried so hard to revive him."
The plane's engine was still running and she was badly hurt and trapped. "I was so worried it was going to explode," she said, adding with all her will, she dragged herself out.
Soon after she was in surgery for a broken arm, wrist, numerous fractures to her face. She later had three surgeries to repair her stomach and another year of physiotherapy.
But she lived.
Then in 2006 came the news she had breast cancer.
"As a result I had a year of chemotherapy followed by a double mastectomy."
Never once did she complain because not a day goes by she does not think of the family who lost Peter Caverly. In fact, she said, one of the things she has always wrestled with is guilt that she got to live and he didn't. "He was a nice guy with a wife and family," she said.
There were lots of times in the past six years when she could have given up, but she refused.
"In spite of what life has thrown my way I have persevered through support of family, friends and music," she said.
"U2's music helped me heal through my traumas. One of my dreams has always been to meet Bono. His words and love for mankind have been instilled in my heart forever."
There was only one thing left to do -- try to arrange that. And there is no one better for putting people together in this city than the one and only Original Kid Rock, whose real name is Keith Correira.
Kid is a well-known fixture of Toronto's entertainment scene and knew exactly what to do.
"I have known all that she has been through," said Kid. "So I put her in the right spot so when they came out of one of their commitments, Angie got to have a nice, one-on-one meeting with Bono."
"I was in shock," said an excited Angie, adding she was so shocked Wednesday she forget to tell Bono all that has happened to her.
But it didn't matter. "I finally had my dream come true," she said. "Meeting Bono face-to-face was so emotional and surreal."
She said he put his arm around her and she could feel his warmth.
"I felt so much love and strength just being so close to him," she said, adding it was as if he knew her whole story of struggle and survival.
With Bono, sometimes things move in mysterious ways.
Copyright © 2009, Canoe Inc. All rights reserved.