October’s pink has now shaded into more traditional fall colors, but that doesn’t mean the scourge of cancer has fallen away like so many brown leaves from a tree. Any of us who have seen it ravage a loved one — which is practically all of us — know cancer is a relentless son of a bitch. It’s not the sort of life event anyone should have to face alone.
That’s the idea behind the Darkside Metal Madness Show and Cancer Benefit and, to a larger extent, the group it benefits. The third annual installment returns tomorrow to BFE Rock Club, where than a dozen bands will come together for the main fundraiser for The Life Support Project, a volunteer organization founded by the very busy Houston music insider Misty Kelly.
Kelly is Fitzgerald’s booking agent, founder of the entertainment Web site Red Room Underground, a music writer, Texas’ liaison for Voodoo Queen Management and manager of the band Sons of Blackwater, who will play Saturday’s event. She’s also a daughter who lost her father to cancer in 2013. In spite of all her social connections, Kelly admits there was the very real notion that she and her family were secluded by the illness. It’s something that stuck with her and she vowed to do what she could to keep others from feeling the same loneliness. No stranger to upstart ventures and unafraid to work to grow something, she started the cancer awareness/assistance program, The Life Support Project.
“The motto of The Life Support Project is ‘One Fight One Stand, No One Fights Alone,’ because patients and their families are often socially and emotionally isolated when their world is turned upside down and they don’t know what to do or where to go,” she says. “The aim of The Life Support Project is to involve the community of these patients not just for financial assistance, but for emotional support as the body cannot win a fight that the spirit has already abandoned.”
Kelly says The Life Support Project differs from traditional cancer-awareness programs in that it provides options, resources, financial assistance and a shoulder for patients “during their fight for their life, when the mind, body and spirit wants to give in.” Funds are used to assist patients with harrowing and ever-growing medical bills, as well as wage replacement for those too ill to work. Too often, Kelly said, those lost earnings make cancer patients and their families vulnerable to a loss of shelter, utilities and daily expenses, including food.
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Once Kelly realized the very community she involved herself in could be an important ally for The Life Support Project, she tabbed several eager acts to help raise funds and awareness.
“Music brings communities together and soothes the soul no matter how broken or worn down it may be," she says. "Music is central to our lives and is embedded in our culture, defining how we acknowledge milestones, rites of passage and celebrations as well as providing comfort, transformation and inspiration. Cancer has touched the lives of so many people and now, more than ever, we need your help to show those that are facing cancer that we will fight together and we will heal together. Those of us in the music business are dependent on our fans to support us in every aspect of what we do and know how much the community can make a great impact when we rally together.”
In weeks to come, you’ll see pieces here on area musicians whose sudden health issues have urged their friends, fans and fellow musicians to come together to support them through shows. The reasons these events are successful aren’t lost on us. They raise money but also provide the safety and comfort of a group setting to discuss these life-and-death issues, something it’s difficult to do in smaller settings. Kelly knows Houston is a giving city, and hopes to see BFE filled from the 3:30 p.m. doors until the last act plays.
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She said this year’s acts include Smokin’ Aces, Viridian, (Lake Charles), Sons of Blackwater, Final Drive (St. Louis), ORR , Carry The Storm, Twelve Years Driven, Born From Ruins, Anchor Babies (Corpus Christi), Pulse (Dallas-Fort Worth), Broken Valor, Knocturnal Maddness, MadSons and Chaotic Justice. There will be raffles, a silent auction and food vendors, Kelly said. Those unable to have their faces melted for a good cause can donate via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have all had that day when we thought to ourselves we couldn’t get through another day like this,” Kelly says. “Reality is many people out there are faced with the certainty that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and they may not make it through another day. Let’s help give them the fighting chance to focus on what’s important….survival!”
The Darkside Metal Madness Cancer Benefit and Show, Saturday, Nov.14 at BFE Rock Club, 11528 Jones Road. Doors at 3:30 p.m., all ages, $5 to $15.