From Bench to Broadway Fundraiser for Upstage Lung Cancer

By Elyssa Conley

Frome Bench to Broadway Cabaret Singers
From Bench to Broadway Cabaret Singers with Candy O’Terry
Linda, Hildy and Anne from Bench to Broadway
From Left to right-Linda Marks Schwarz, Hildy Grossman,  Anne E. Deconinck

On Thursday, December 7, David and I made our way to Cambridge to cover From Bench to Broadway-Songs Where the Science Is, a fundraiser for Upstage Lung Cancer at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. This event location was a great pairing because both Upstage Lung Cancer and the Koch Institute are committed to early cancer detection and groundbreaking ways to treat it as well.

A Worthy Cause

Upstage Lung Cancer singers
Upstage Lung Cancer vocalists pose for a group photo

Upstage Lung Cancer is a non-profit founded by Hildy Grossman, a professional singer with the jazz group the Follen Angels. Hildy was diagnosed with lung cancer by chance, 11 years ago. Early detection saved her life. She created Upstage Lung Cancer with the mission to hold musical performances in order to raise money for early detection and treatment of lung cancer, to help destigmatize it and provide advocacy. From Bench to Broadway, was one of their two main performance fundraisers.

David and Hildy, have known each other for about 20 years. David and Greta’s daughter took theatre classes from Hildy. They were well acquainted when Hildy was diagnosed with lung cancer 11 years ago. Fortunately, she has remained cancer free. David lost his first wife to cancer when his kids were very young. Like most people, I have also lost loved ones to cancer, so this holds important meaning to all of us at David Fox, Photographer.

From Bench to Broadway Performance

Upstage Lung Cancer Vocal Performers
Upstage Lung Cancer Vocal Performers at From Bench to Broadway

The From Bench to Broadway event was so much fun! The Koch Institute provided a wonderful space for an intimate performance. The evening started with a silent auction, then the performance began. Joyce Kulhawik returned to emcee the 9th annual cabaret concert. We were in for a treat of fantastic vocals belting out some really great Broadway show tunes. Performing vocalists were Brian De Lorenzo, Hildy Grossman, Michael Hammond, and Paula Markowicz. Candy O’Terry, along with Sheree Dunwell performed as well.

Some my personal favorites were, Trouble from Music Man, For Good from Wicked, This Joint is Jumpin’, All that Jazz from Chicago. Candy O’Terry sang a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and the performance ended with Let the Sunshine In from Hair which received a standing ovation.

Joyce Kulhawik Presented the Inspirational Patient Advocate Award
Joyce Kulhawik Presented the Inspirational Patient Advocate Award to Diane Legg

In between sets, three time cancer survivor, Joyce Kulhawik filled us with some sobering facts. There is a stigma around lung cancer and part of this is because many people associate it with smoking. However, 60% of people currently diagnosed with it never smoked. Lung Cancer is the number one cancer killer, yet it receives the least funding.

The Facts

As with all cancer, early detection is key, but particularly for those with lung cancer. Only 18% of people diagnosed with lung cancer survive 5 years. The earlier it’s caught, the better the chances are of survival. This makes early detection of lung cancer essential.

We also learned some positive information about some promising trials working at early detection. The early results of Immunotherapy and targeted therapies look very encouraging.

The Silent Auction for Upstage Lung Cancer
Guests check out the Silent Auction for Upstage Lung Cancer

The From Bench to Broadway-Songs Where the Science performances by the singers and band were top notch. The information was informative, and left us feeling hopeful. Afterwards, we were treated to Hors d’Oeuvres and dessert as well as an opportunity to bid on the wide selection of silent auction items.

The board of Upstage Lung Cancer is all volunteer and Joyce Kulhawik and the cast all volunteer their time.  We would like to give a special thank you to the community who volunteered to put up posters to usher the event!

David and I had a great time photographing the event. I had a chance to ask Joyce her opinion on the new immunotherapy treatments that are coming out. I had read some promising statistics and was curious to get her impression. She said she thought they were great and that there were also a lot of promising new treatments in the pipeline. It was a wonderfully entertaining evening for a worthy cause.

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