Tallmadge musicians to perform in 'Get Well Gabby' concert in Cleveland

by Lauren Sega | Reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- In an effort to raise funds for childhood brain cancer research, several local musicians will perform at the Believe in a Cure Concert for the Get Well Gabby Foundation Sept. 13.

Musicians Mason Shuman, a Tallmadge native and Kent resident, Allen Ilg, of Tallmadge, and Chris Nighman of Cuyahoga Falls will take the stage at Cleveland's Agora Theater and Ballroom, 5000 Euclid Avenue, at 6:30 p.m. with the Allen Ilg Band, in a lineup that also features the Gin Blossoms, Pat McGee and Jay Boland and the Members Only Band.

Boland, of South Euclid, a 1994 Hudson High School graduate, and Matthew Knabe, of Stow, a 1996 Hudson grad, put the show together.

Shuman and Nighman say they are not new to the benefit gigs, as both have participated in shows similar to the Believe in a Cure Concert.

"The first benefit show I did was with my band Project Nine. It was for Akron Children's Hospital's Aluminum Cans for Burned Children," said Nighman. "It was an amazing feeling knowing that we could help."

Shuman also organized a benefit concert for his sister-in-law after his brother, David, died of leukemia.

"He was 26 at the time. His wife never planned ahead ... it's not something you think of when you're 26," Shuman said. "So to help her out I put on a benefit show to offset the cost of the funeral."

Boland said the funds will go toward brain cancer research and awareness in children.

"Believe" was the motto of 5-year-old Gabriella Martha Vogel, of Phoenixville, Pa., for whom the foundation was named.

"Gabby," as her friends and family called her, was diagnosed in 2011 with diffuse intra pontine glioma, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer. Gabby's parents took her to the hospital emergency room on Memorial Day 2011 after she was having trouble keeping her balance and walking on her own, according to the foundation's website. A brain biopsy showed the cancer was "inoperable" and "explosively aggressive." Gabby died Sept. 11, 2011.

Gabby told her parents after she was diagnosed, "that when she was 6, she wouldn't be sick anymore," according to the website.

However, she died just a month before reaching her goal.

"Gabby always believed that she would get better," her family said.

The foundation was created to help "find a cure so no family has to endure what Gabby and her family did," according to the website.

"This is a rare cancer we're raising awareness for," said Boland. "So you might wonder why we would waste time trying to raise money for something so rare. But the research and the cure for this cancer can be applied to the treatment and cure of other cancers."

Awareness is the number one goal, said Boland. "If we can get people to get out there and get some media exposure then we can pull it off," he said.

Boland became aware of the foundation after one of his best friends from Hudson, who moved to the Philadelphia area, posted a video online after Gabby died.

Boland said wanted to do something to help and put a small benefit concert together in February that raised about $500.

"I wanted to do something bigger," said Boland, who is financing the event.

Boland added he hopes to raise at least $20,000 for the foundation, he said.

"I'm very passionate about helping them out," Boland said. "All profits from the ticket sales go towards the foundation."

"Knowing we were going to be making money for a good cause made me sign up right away," added Shuman. "It just makes me feel good that that's one way I can contribute."

Nighman said his goals are to raise awareness and enough money to fuel research for a cure.

"Every little bit helps," Nighman said. "Research can be very expensive so we need to work together."

Knabe called the Get Well Gabby Foundation "a great cause."

"I am honored and flattered that Jay and Matt have chosen to raise awareness and funds for the Get Well Gabby Foundation through the Believe in a Cure Benefit Concert," Carolynn Vogel, president and co-founder of the foundation said.

Vogel was also Gabby's mom.

"It is amazing to know that our daughter continues to touch the hearts of those that she never had the chance to meet," she said. "The first Believe in a Cure Benefit concert had great success and I'm very excited to be able to be a part of the second annual event.

Reserved ticket prices for the concert range from $24.50 to $55. General admission tickets range from $37.50 to $44.25.

The Get Well Gabby Foundation is a registered non-profit with the mission of funding research for Childhood Cancer, raising awareness, and assisting families that have children who have been diagnosed with DIPG.

For more information on Get Well Gabby visit www.getwellgabby.org or Get Well Gabby on Facebook.

Editor's Note: Hudson Hub-Times Reporter Tim Troglen contributed to this report.

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