As cancer research continues to make progress toward a cure, funding for innovation becomes increasingly crucial. Securing funds for research has itself become an innovative — and often fun — endeavor, as is the case for In Concert for Cancer, an annual concert that features world-class musical performances and donates 100 percent of its net proceeds to cancer treatment, research, and patient programs.
The concert, which will be held in Kirkland on October 20 and in Portland on October 21, is now in its seventh year of putting on top-notch shows that aim to unite those who have been touched by cancer, while providing hope to those who may battle the disease in the future.
This year, In Concert for Cancer will feature the legendary music of the iconic band Chicago, which will be brought to life by California Transit Authority (CTA). The jazz-rock band was founded in 2007 by critically acclaimed Rock & Roll Hall of Fame drummer Danny Seraphine, who was a co-founder of Chicago; CTA also includes three-decade Chicago member Bill Champlin.
Champlin, like many of the musicians who have played at In Concert for Cancer in years past, has been closely touched by cancer. In 2014, his older son began a fight with esophageal cancer that lasted until September of 2016.
“Right at the end of his battle, I was diagnosed with (prostate) cancer,” said Champlin. “He died the next day.”
Champlin has consistently been involved in the music scene since he started as a professional musician at age 14. He was forced to stop working for about a year, however, to fight his cancer. He went through surgery, radiation, and chemo in that time. “My job for a year was to change the station on the TV set,” he laughed.
Since his recovery, Champlin, now 71, has returned to music, travelling around the world for gigs with different bands, including CTA.
On his involvement with In Concert for Cancer this year, Champlin said that a benefit like this one wouldn’t have been on his radar before he lost his son to cancer and fought it himself. Now, he recognizes the importance of funding research so that people like him can continue to fight the illness and earn back years of their lives.
“We all have friends who are dealing with (cancer), have dealt with it, or are gone because of it,” the musician said. “Let’s keep working on it and have some fun playing music, too.”
In Concert for Cancer will showcase 17 of Chicago’s most popular songs from the 70s and 80s, including “Feeling Stronger Every Day,” “Make Me Smile,” “Hard Habit to Break,” and “Look Away.”
The Kirkland concert’s net proceeds will fund immunotherapy cancer treatment and research at Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute.
Tickets are $75. For more event details and to purchase tickets, visit InConcertforCancer.org