Looking for a new way to help raise money in the fight against breast cancer? Save the date for Saturday, July 23 for the Fourth Annual Columbus Rocks the Cure event at Skully’s Music Diner. This event, organized by Amee BellWanzo, front-woman of Black Eyed Betty, one of the local bands performing, began the event during her own battle with breast cancer. Even with the diagnosis, she continues to perform with the band, saying that she draws strength from the music.
Because Amee was diagnosed very young, at the age of 31, the event is aimed at spreading awareness to a younger crowd.
“Columbus Rocks the Cure celebrates survival, and raises awareness in a positive way,” says Amee. “Rock and roll is an incredible healer. The intensity behind rock music is empowering. We use this energy to generate awareness and raise money in a way that younger people can relate to.”
The event will feature local bands, including Vanity Theft, Spruce Campbells, Black Eyed Betty and Dirty Girls. As with past years, 100 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated, with 50 percent supporting breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs through Komen Columbus. The other 50 percent will be used to purchase wigs for cancer patients who would not otherwise be able to afford it.
“As a survivor, I know how important it is just to feel normal – and a quality wig is the biggest comfort, wig donation is a way to support people who are fighting the battle right here and now,” says Amee.
Turning a Diagnosis into Inspiration
“Several of our songs have absolutely been inspired by my experience with kicking cancer’s butt, as I like to position it,” Amee said. “My favorite song is called ‘Refuse to Drown,’ which is about refusing to let the diagnosis get me down and coming through the situation stronger.”
Amee added that her bandmates have all become terrific activists for the cause as well, sporting their anti-cancer shirts to gigs and wearing pink for events.
“It goes to show how a diagnosis will affect the people close to you in ways you’d never imagine – but they’ve all been good ways. People want to show their support and lend their strength!” Amee said.
Since this is the fourth annual event, the concert has changed over the years. Amee hopes this will be their best year yet.
“We started off pretty small. The first year was actually during the time while I was on chemo – so it was really more of a party where the band played, and everyone came out to show their support.”
Amee stressed that her focus is on survival, instead of statistics.
“A lump doesn’t equal a death sentence,” she said. “People do not have to be intimidated to check themselves, or to go to the doctor if they find something. You can take care of it and keep on going!”
Skully’s Music Diner is located in the Short North of Columbus. For more information, check out Columbus Rocks the Cure online.