BRISTOL — A September concert is one more link in the supportive chain a local business owner and the Wellmont Cancer Institute are using to help lift local cancer patients who have potentially burdensome everyday expenses.
"It is marvelous to raise funds for major projects that can positively impact the lives of cancer patients," said Marla Edwards, owner of Crooked Road General Store. "Looking for a cure is great as well. But for someone who doesn't have gas money or clean pajamas to wear to treatments, the need is now."
To help provide funds to those patients in need, The Now Fund concert, sponsored by Edwards' store, is bringing Mark Lowry to Bristol's Paramount Theatre on Sept. 7.
It's a fundraising concert that will be like no other, Edwards said.
"This is our fourth concert, and I thought what we needed now was a good laugh, as well as good music," Edwards said. With that in mind, she said Lowry is a perfect fit.
Lowry, a Gaither Vocal Band performer, is as well-known for his humor as his baritone. A Dove Award-winning vocalist and humorist, he is also the lyricist for the well-loved Christmas standard “Mary, Did You Know?”
Lowry has appeared in nearly 100 Homecoming releases, and he has also enjoyed a successful solo career.
"I've heard his music all my life. Then, about two or three years ago, I saw him in person," Edwards said. "From the time he walks on the stage, he has you laughing."
Tickets for the show are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. They can be purchased in advance by calling the Paramount at 423-274-8920 or visiting etix.com.
Proceeds from the concert go into the No Worries (NOW) fund administered by Wellmont Foundation. The cancer institute works with the foundation to distribute the money to those who need financial help for emergency and personal needs during their treatment at Bristol Regional Medical Center.
"Because it's at the Paramount, which seats about 750 people, this concert will be very personal," Edwards said. "Mark makes you feel like he is only performing for you anyway, and with this smaller auditorium, the 'Unplanned and Unplugged' show will be an intimate one. You won't be disappointed."
Concert-goers can also have the satisfaction they are helping meet a real need in the area.
"When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, financial challenges are often a very real part of the package," said Sue Lindenbusch, the cancer institute's vice president. "Donations provided through this concert empower the cancer institute to enhance its assistance to patients, giving them strength for today and hope for tomorrow.
"We're grateful to Marla for her commitment to improve our patients' quality of life and encourage the residents of our region to join us for this spectacular event. It will have a powerful impact on our friends and neighbors who are going through a life-altering experience."