Thursday, May 14, 2015

Charity Spotlight: Butch Walker's Autumn Leaves Project Receives Donation in Honor of Sharon's Father

Sometimes it's easy to take life for granted.  We get comfortable and assume that everyone that we love will always be there.  Until they are not.  And it hurts like no other hurt that you've ever felt in your life before. 

Dad showing me records from his extensive collection.
One week ago today, with one of his hands in mine and the other in my mother's, my father took his last breath and left this earthly life for the next due to pancreatic cancer.  This has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life.  I am blessed to have been there for the prior weeks of his life to help care for him.  It is an experience that will forever be vivid in my memory, bittersweet as it was.

Yesterday, I told Chip, our staff writer, that I wanted to make our next donation in honor of my father to some sort of pancreatic cancer foundation.  When he told me that Butch Walker just started one called The Autumn Leaves Project in honor of his own father who passed away to this same horrible cancer, I knew this was exactly where our donation was meant to go.

You see, my father was a lover of music.  Although he grew up in a different era and loved the 50's and 60's Doo Wop style of music, he was the one who introduced me to the world of music.  In the 70's and 80's he and my Uncle Fred hosted a local radio show on WYEP called "The Magic Music Machine," spinning their favorite oldies tunes.  Sometimes I would get to go along and hang out in the studio and be surrounded by records, radio broadcasting equipment and other people with a passion for music.  It was an exciting time for me.  While he was an oldies guy, he had a love for all sorts of music including hard rock.  I'll always remember his story of how he saw Led Zeppelin at a local arena for just a fraction of the price that we pay for concert tickets today!

My dad at the WYEP studios hosting his Saturday night oldies radio show.

Please know that if you have lost anyone to this horrible disease, you are not alone.  Please consider exploring The Autumn Leaves Project website and making a donation where money will be raised to help fund programs for pre-screening, to help find affordable alternatives to the methods and the medications that that exist to cope once it’s diagnosed, to help those with little or no health insurance, and, ultimately, to find a cure.