Yes, I know I haven’t updated you on Playing for the Cure: Brainstormin’, but I needed some time. Time to relax and recover. Time to enjoy the fruits of our labor and allow for donations continue to come in supporting this cause. Time to finalize the details for the Path of Hope, a 5K Journey to Benefit the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance and enjoy in its success. But also time to reflect on life and the fortunes I’ve been blessed with.
Let’s start with the concert. If you were to ask me to summarize it in one word, I’d say “exhilarating”.
For those of you who attended and/or contributed, thank you! I am elated to announce that, through our joint efforts with our sponsors and everyone who donated and came out to celebrate the night, we have surpassed last year’s donation for The Cusano Family Brain Tumor Fund at the Yale Brain Tumor Center. I am saving announcing the grand total until we have presented the check to Yale, but we are all very excited! This money will go towards research (such as developing a virus that is injected into the brain to kill the cancer cells without harming the brain), clinical trials, less invasive methods to treat the tumor, and beyond.
It was a night full of hope and inspiration. We had terrific bands. There was a raffle with amazing prizes donated from local businesses, family and friends. I had the opportunity to meet the mother of a brain cancer patient with whom I connected previously on social media and was inspired by her words and drive to fight. A fellow brain tumor patient, Aisha Khan, also from North Haven, came to show her support of the cause and is an avid fan of Broca’s Area. Prior to the concert, my parents’ neighbor let them know he was unable to attend this year, but wished to purchase raffle tickets and instructed them that if he won, to have me donate his prize to a brain tumor patient or survivor. When my parents arrived at the venue that night and told me this, I got goosebumps and felt proud knowing that we’re making a difference. Sure enough, about halfway through the raffle, a ticket was pulled and I leaned toward the microphone and announced that the winner of this item was donating his winnings and I selected Aisha as the beneficiary of a $100 gift card donated by the Max Restaurant Group.
It’s the small things like this act of kindness that make the work and effort worth it all.
But it was also a night where I stood in the back of the room and took it all in. I admired the hard work of my family and friends. Watching in awe as something terrible has transpired into something so grand. Along with my surgeon, we stood there and listened to Goodnight Blue Moon. With the first note the group sang, their vocal harmonies captured us all and their music was thoroughly enjoyed. The band brought their merchandise to sell and graciously split their profit with The Cusano Family Brain Tumor Fund. I purchased both CDs and have been listening to each nonstop. “Thank you” Goodnight Blue Moon, hopefully you’ll be up for playing at next year’s show! And a huge thank you to Broca’s Area for your continued support of this cause. If you have not yet heard them play, I strongly encourage you to take a look at their schedule and catch them in an area near you.
Yet, in the midst of writing this post, the brain tumor community lost yet another truly remarkable, inspirational and brave individual to this awful disease. Candice and I met via social media a couple of years ago and have connected at various CTBTA events. She was a huge supporter of this concert and I. Always with a smile on her face, she triumphantly marched on. Sadly, last week, Candice lost her battle to brain cancer, but she lives on in my memory as an inspiration and another reason that I continue to fight on and organize this concert.
I am hopeful that next year, this concert will be even bigger and better, and I look forward to seeing new faces that I’ve never met before to connect and be a source of hope and inspiration. And I would love for you to be the same for me.