Cancer still can’t kill love: Annual benefit to honor memory of reporter’s parents

For the third year in a row, the Home Reporter’s own Meaghan McGoldrick is kicking cancer where it hurts with her annual Cancer Can’t Kill Love Benefit Concert—a chance for friends and family to come together, enjoy local bands and indulge in great eats, all while raising money for cancer research—in honor of her late parents Joanne and John Patrick “Butch” McGoldrick.

“My mom passed away in October of 2013,” McGoldrick said of her mother who lost a brief, four-month battle with Leukemia. Her father, Butch, succumbed in 2008 to Mesothelioma, an asbestos-triggered lung cancer brought on by his work at Ground Zero. “My friends were sitting around one day and said ‘we need to do something.’”

Today, that “something” has taken off and turned into a big event in Bay Ridge—collectively raising close to $10,000 since its first year.

“I decided that I didn’t want to keep it as just a one-time thing,” said McGoldrick. “So, it grew bigger and we changed venues to accommodate more people and more bands.”

This year’s bands include Tim & Tom, Stoop Kids, royGbiv, August On Sunday and Charlie Fishercat—groups that double as McGoldrick’s friends, a seemingly endless pool of childhood, middle school and high school buds.

“It’s amazing to see the support we get from our community and friends for this benefit,” said Gerard Sullivan, August on Sunday’s drummer and one of McGoldrick’s best friends. “To see Bay Ridge residents and business owners jump on board this little thing we started to honor the memory of someone special to us is unbelievable. I’ve been a part of countless benefit concerts and fundraisers but this has been by far the most successful every year. Who says a bunch of twenty-something bar flies can’t do something worthwhile.”

“As we prepare for the third installment of Cancer Can’t Kill Love, I think it’s important to look back on its humble beginnings and to note just how much it has grown in two years,” said Michael Williams, McGoldrick’s best friend/roommate whose band, royGbiv, played its first ever live show at Cancer Can’t Kill Love’s inaugural benefit.

“Meag and our friends put months of thought and effort into the event, and the results are obvious,” he went on. “Each year, there are new acts from the area, there are more donations from stores and restaurants in the neighborhood, and there’s more money to be given to those who need it more than we do.  Meag always dares herself to outdo the year before, and we all follow suit.”

While a large part of the inaugural fundraiser’s proceeds went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, every penny raised at last year’s benefit went to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and 100 percent of this year’s proceeds will go to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“It’s bittersweet,” added McGoldrick. “Obviously, we raise a lot of money for cancer research but I think that it’s more than that for a lot of people. Today, most people know someone who has directly been affected by cancer, so I think it’s nice to dedicate a day just to that cause where people get to have a good time and come together. It’s not weird if somebody starts crying. It’s a lot of fun but it’s also really meaningful to a lot of people.”

The Third Annual Cancer Can’t Kill Love Benefit Concert will be held at The Leif Bar (6725 Fifth Avenue) on Saturday, August 29 from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. For more information about the benefit, visit

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