Tickets sold out, the 200-plus audience screamed for more and the Breast Cancer Foundation raised more than $10,000 for its Wellness Program.
The foundation’s Chief Administrator Janette Fitzgerald was thrilled. “It was truly phenomenal,” she said of Saturday night’s rock concert fundraiser. “Just saying ‘fabulous’ doesn’t really cut it.”
“We sold all the tickets we had. We had a few empty seats on the night, so much going on in Cayman on the same night. We’re grateful some people paid for tickets even if they did not attend. They did miss out though,” Ms. Fitzgerald added.
A New York City “progressive rock” band, the three-member The Last Internationale, dubbed “TLI,” played the Breast Cancer Foundation’s first fundraising concert, at the Harquail Theatre on Feb. 10, after performing at a private Vista del Mar party the previous evening.
Party organizers and longtime Breast Cancer Foundation benefactors Steve and Andrea Hughes said they had “originally arranged for the band to come play for us at home, and then the idea of the BCF event followed.”
“We are both big music fans and keen to kick-start any greater music opportunity here that we can. It’s a great band … and a great cause,” Mr. Hughes said.
He said the private party had been an apt precursor to the public performance: “It was amazing … very cool and everyone was blown away.”
Most of the 40 guests at the band’s one hour and 45-minute private appearance, he said, also attended the Saturday event, while The Last Internationale itself, he said, “had a total blast and loved the reception they got.”
The Breast Cancer Foundation’s annual operating budget runs about $200,000, much of it directed toward its Wellness Program – started three years ago – and training for medical professionals in lymphoedema treatments, cold capping at chemotherapy, awareness programs and running a support group. The foundation also sponsors the Cancer Society for its work with breast cancer patients.
“All monies raised will go to the foundation’s Wellness Program where it is truly needed – 152 patients, five new ladies last week, that is how it goes,” Ms. Fitzgerald said.
“We try to cover for all patients, survivors and their families who come our way. We pay for the mammograms, either directly or via the Cancer Society, we cover prosthetics and specialized bras also via the [society] and we also pay an additional $50K to them for the financial aid they need to give for breast cancer patients going overseas for treatments they cannot get here.”
The foundation now has cold caps available in all three hospitals and has trained staff on the procedure to help patients keep their hair during chemo.
“We also launched our Awareness Campaign in the last few months,” she said, indicating the foundation wanted “to educate anyone who will listen on what to look for, how to lessen the chances of you getting it and who to turn to if you need help.
“We are just glad we have people like Steve and Andrea Hughes who will go out on a limb and spend this money for us. They paid for the band to come over, flights, the lot. The foundation had no costs at all,” Ms. Fitzgerald said.
The evening kicked off at 7:45 p.m. with local sextet Scotch & Soda, “who had everyone dancing in the aisles,” Ms. Fitzgerald said. The Last Internationale appeared just after 8:30 p.m. and played until after 11:00.
“The crowd just did not want them to stop. They did two encores,” she said.
Mr. Hughes said the band “loved the mix of people and the warmth everywhere they went at the gig, afterwards and with us around the island bars, restaurants, etc.”
Both Ms. Fitzgerald and Mr. Hughes left the door open for a similar future event.
“We hope to, yes,” Mr. Hughes said. “Several people approached me offering help and wanting to be involved.”