Many years ago I wrote a story about pediatric cancer treatment at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for Raising Arizona Kids magazine. It included the story of a teenage boy who’d noticed a lump in his neck — which was diagnosed as cancer and treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Today we’re home with our own 21-year-old son, who is undergoing something called radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer. His cancer first came to light when a lump was felt during a routine endocrinology exam.
You might be tempted at this point to run your fingers over your neck, and to race to your children to do the same. But there’s something else you can do to make a difference, perhaps only in the lives of others’ children — but maybe one day in the life of one of your own.
Cancer is the great equalizer, and few families escape its reach. I felt ashamed today when I read about a 7th annual event benefiting children with cancer. Has news of the event crossed my path in years past, but only now raised a red flag because of our own family’s journey?
Do we only listen when something affects those within our own small circles of caring?
Families facing cancer listen for all kinds of things. Phone calls from physicians sharing test results. Children crying for comfort after enduring side effects of chemotherapy. Supportive words from friends, and sometimes strangers.
This Monday night you can listen for the many children and teens facing cancer — by attending a benefit concert presented by Chandler-Gilbert Community College Performing Arts at Velda Rose Methodist Church in Mesa.
The concert is a labor of love organized by CGCC faculty member J. Edmund Hughes, D.M.A. Hughes directs the CGCC College Singers Choir and teaches music theory and aural perception.
Hughes’ daughter Allie was diagnosed at age 16 with leukemia and lymphoma — but “beat the cancer through treatment and support at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.”
Monday’s event is the seventh such concert “to thank Phoenix Children’s Hospital and all the excellent work they do to save children’s lives.”
The April 11 concert starts at 7pm and features five choral groups from the East Valley — the CGCC College Singers, the CGCC Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Red Mountain High School La Camarata, Mesa High School Chamber Singers and Corona Del Sol High School Jaztecs.
Although the concert is free, “goodwill offerings” to benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital will be accepted.
I hope you never hear the footsteps of pediatric cancer at your own door. But I assure you, it knocks more frequently and frighteningly than many of us ever imagine.
And attending Monday night’s concert is a meaningful way to let those living with cancer know that you’re listening — to the music, and for the sweet sound of a cure.
Note: Velda Rose Methodist Church is located at 5540 E. Main St. in Mesa.
Coming up: Student art exhibits at Valley community colleges
Update: I’m happy to share the good news from Rhonda Fuhrmann with CGCC — the event had a great turnout and they raised more than $1,000 for Phoenix Children’s Hospital!