‘The Voice!’ finalist featured performer at Stomp Out Cancer Fund concert

May 7, 2014

10294317_368230533317589_1493114652799614895_nBy Kate Krieger. MCP Correspondent.

MANISTEE – It’s a parent’s nightmare to hear their child has been diagnosed with cancer and no matter the age of the child the experience and the unknown can be very scary.

Noah Vasquez, 6, son of Manistee residents Roger and Jill Vasquez was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer, when he was 8 months old. Undergoing extensive treatment at Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Noah’s tumor was removed and he was placed on a clinical trial, which he successfully completed, leaving him in remission since 2009.

Noah Vasquez

Noah Vasquez

“Throughout this experience, we received so many encouraging words and acts of kindness from family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community members and occasionally complete strangers,” Noah’s mother, Jill said. “From that moment, we knew we wanted to assist others.”

Noah’s journey was an essential part to the make up of the Stomp Out Cancer Fund (SOC), which raises money to benefit cancer patients who reside in Manistee or Mason counties. Jill said that in 2010, Jessica Scharp inquired with members of her family to see if they would like to assist with planning an event to raise funds for cancer awareness, research and to assist others.

“Jessica is a breast cancer survivor and was going through treatment during the same timeframe as Noah,” Jill stated.

The conversation that Jessica initiated with the Vasquez family resulted in the planning of the Snowshoe Stampede, which was held in February of 2011 and has become an annual event, leading to the formal organization of the Stomp Out Cancer Fund. The group fund raises throughout the year, hosting activities such as the annual Snowshoe Stampede, silent auctions, tug-of-war, chili cook-offs, tamale and salsa sales, an annual softball tournament, golf outings, high school athletics jersey sponsorship and the latest addition to this year’s lineup, a benefit concert featuring Traverse City native Ryan Whyte Maloney.

Maloney was a top five performer on Team Blake from NBC’s “The Voice!” Noah’s father, Roger, and Ryan have known each other for many years, mainly from working together at Republic Services in Manistee. Over the past few years, Roger has arranged on a few occasions for Ryan and his band to come perform in Manistee and this year, Ryan has offered to play a concert to benefit the SOC Fund.

The concert will be held at 4 p.m., Sunday, May 11 at Seng’s Marina, 47 Lake Street in Manistee.

“Cancer has affected me,” Ryan said. “My grandmother died of cancer and I was there with her when she passed. It’s something that pulls at the heartstrings for me or for anyone who has had to deal with it.”

Ryan stated that he is very excited to be coming back to Manistee to play and to see friends and family, even if it is just for a short visit. He stated that he will be playing different genres of music from country to rock with some covers and songs he performed on The Voice thrown in as well.

“Michigan is something I eat, sleep and breathe,” he said. “Some of my best times were when I was working for Republic. Being able to play back in Michigan and a chance to go back home is something very personal for me.”

Ryan stated that after he performs in Manistee he will travel back to “The Voice!” to join other finalists to perform on this season’s finale episode.

“It is going to be really cool,” he said. “I was surprised. Being able to perform really makes the soul feel good.”

The Stomp Out Cancer Fund has teamed up with Seng’s Marina and Republic Services to make the concert event possible.

“These sponsors have graciously stepped up to the plate and assisted us with only two to three weeks to coordinate the entire event,” Jill stated.

Todd Harland, from Republic Services and Jeff Seng from Seng’ Marina were both very happy to assist in the organization of the upcoming event.

“Republic Services looks forward to this event bringing people together to generate resources for families in our community who have been impacted by Cancer,” he said. “The SOC group spends countless hours organizing events to support local families and this is another opportunity for all of us in the community to support the SOC effort and hopefully lessen the financial burden on families who are struggling to fight this terrible disease.”

Noah’s aunt, Rachel Vasquez has also played a major role in helping develop and promote the SOC Fund and its events.

“The Stomp Out Cancer Fund is excited for this opportunity to work with Ryan on behalf of Manistee and Mason county cancer patients,” she said. “This event was originally scheduled to take place in June but due to scheduling conflicts we had to move it up to May 11th. This only gave us two and a half weeks to plan the event but thanks to the hard work of the SOC Fund committee, Seng’s Marina, Republic Services, MS Creative and various media sources, things have been quickly falling into place. We hope to have a great turnout with the support of the local communities.”

Tickets for the concert are $20 for adults, $10 for children 18 and under and children five and under are free. They can be purchased online at soc-fund.org, Sports Ink in Manistee, Instrumental Music and Sound of Ludington and River Street Stockyard and Spirits in Manistee. The concert is a rain or shine event. Concessions will be available and attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair.

For more information about the concert or any other SOC Fund events, visit www.soc-fund.org or visit their Facebook page by logging on to www.facebook.com and searching for “SOC-Fund.”

The Vasquez family continues to live each day to the fullest and give great thanks to all those who help support them during Noah’s ongoing remission. They really want to encourage everyone to attend the SOC Fund concert event and to help spread the word about how to “Stomp Out Cancer.”

“Noah turned six on April 17,” Rachel Vasquez stated. “He has now graduated to annual rechecks at Devos. He is a normal, healthy boy who loves superheroes.”

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