Following the rousing success of ‘Everybody Needs Somebody Sometime,’ their annual benefit last October, Upstage Lung Cancer is proud to present their first musical benefit of the year inspiring youth to join in the fight against lung cancer. Award-winning non-profit organization Upstage Lung Cancer’s second annual ‘Sing Out Youth Festival’ returns to Brookline High School Auditorium, 115 Greenough Street in Brookline, Massachusetts Sunday, March 22 at 4 p.m.
Hosted by WBZ’s Jordan Rich, Upstage Lung Cancer will introduce Deborah Morosini, MD, sister of the late Dana Reeve and sister-in-law of the late Christopher Reeve, as special guest speaker and performer. ‘Sing Out Youth Festival’ is an afternoon of live music from promising young talent including Northeastern University’s ‘Unity Gospel Ensemble,’ ‘Sound Chasers Rock Ensemble’ from Winchester Music School, ‘Sociedad Latina Youth Leaders’ of Boston as well a selection of Brookline High School’s a capella ensembles including ‘Perfect Pitch,’ ‘Note-a-Fy,’ and ‘Testostertones.’ Visit upstagelungcancer.org for tickets and more information!
The proceeds from ‘Sing Out Youth Festival’ will go toward a special lung cancer study for ages 18 through 39, “Genomics of Young Lung Study.” I had the honor of speaking with lung cancer survivor, singer, and President of Upstage Lung Cancer, Hildy Grossman.
I understand the inspiration to start an organization to fight lung cancer stemmed from a fall on the basement stairs. What I find so fascinating about that story is you went to get tested for a sore arm and the diagnosis ended up being lung cancer. It must have been shocking – a seemingly unrelated issue leading to that type of diagnosis.
Yes. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer and 84 percent of people diagnosed will not live 5 years. I am thankful and lucky. Sadly, most people diagnosed at the earliest stage find it by accident because there are no symptoms.
You were diagnosed early and did not exhibit the early signs of lung cancer. What are the best steps a person can take for early detection and prevention?
Right now there are no consistent tests for early detection of lung cancer. If there are any symptoms at all such as shortness of breath or cough, it is wise to talk with your doctor, especially if there is a family history.
Most people don’t realize that over 60 percent of newly diagnosed people either never smoked or quit many years ago. However, if you have been a long time heavy smoker, there is hopeful news using low dose CT scan for early diagnosis. We have supported research on a test looking at biomarkers in saliva to accompany the CT scan to improve early detection.
Now, you are a singer and came up with the idea to integrate musical theatre into a yearly fundraising event. Your first event took place in a private home in 2008. What kinds of surprises did you run into the first year and how do you think it has been perfected each year since?
In the first year, the surprise was to see what an amazing event a house concert was. We had a group of about 50 people in someone’s home. We had a medical speaker and a concert with reception. Frankly, that format has been wonderful! It was a great way for people to learn more about lung cancer, ask questions, and share a great concert as well. We continue to do these concerts and plan one in NYC in late spring.
We will have our annual concert again next fall, but we are also working on our second annual ‘Sing Out! Youth Music Festival’ featuring young talented performers who will help raise money to support a project called “Young Lung.” “Young Lung” looks at genomic research with young people under 39 with lung cancer. Sadly, this is a growing group.
You’ve had some wonderful success with ‘Upstage Lung Cancer’ fundraisers over the years. What was your biggest hope for starting this organization and has that hope evolved or changed over the years?
My hope is to be out of the non-profit world as soon as possible because that will mean we have a cure for lung cancer!
For more information, tickets, and to make a donation, visit upstagelungcancer.org or call 617-835-9722.