A tornado of love, music and charity hit the Leif Bar (6725 Fifth Avenue) for the fourth year in a row this weekend as the Brooklyn Reporter’s own Meaghan McGoldrick hosted yet another slam-dunk Cancer Can’t Kill Love Benefit Concert.
With close to $9,000 in day-of cash donations alone collected on Saturday, August 27, coupled with a (still-growing) pool of online donations and checks, this year’s benefit is on its way to surpassing last year’s $13,000 total (and reaching this year’s $15,000 goal) – 100 percent of the proceeds from which will go straight to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“It was a very special day,” said McGoldrick, who holds the event in memory of her parents, Joanne and John Patrick “Butch” McGoldrick, both of whom lost battles to cancer within five years of one another. “It’s always bittersweet and this year was no different. We remembered a lot of people while at the same time bringing a lot of people together.”
This year’s event had special significance to McGoldrick and her core group of friends. The fourth annual concert was held on what would have been the 14th birthday of Danny Fitzpatrick, the brother of McGoldrick’s best friend Eileen Fitzpatrick, who took his own life earlier this month. In an effort to bring awareness to anti-bullying campaigns, many attendees wore blue and a bevy of blue balloons was released in Danny’s memory.
“It was really beautiful to see everyone come together for more than one cause this year,” McGoldrick added. “There were more people than ever before and there was so much love in the room.”
Bands came from near and far and brought their time and talent to the event, including Brooklyn’s own Stoop Kids, royGbiv, Our Finest Hour and August on Sunday. Singer-songwriter Tyler Conroy came all the way from Massachusetts to play and Long Island-based band Mayve and upstate New York’s own Whiskey Dingo also performed.
“It is an incredible experience to witness, let alone be part of such an event,” said Brian Sears of Whiskey Dingo. “Life can be riddled with heartbreak, as most of the folks at the event are well aware. But having something like this event come from the dark points in someone’s life and grow to be more than first imagined is truly a testament to the good-natured heart of humanity. Love prevails.”
“After a two week tour of the east with my best friends, it was so awesome to come home to play Cancer Can’t Kill Love,” said Gerard Sullivan, drummer of August on Sunday, a local band that’s been on board with the benefit since its start in November, 2013. “Getting the opportunity to see new acts like Tyler Conroy and Mayve join the fray was my favorite part of the day.
“Cancer Can’t Kill Love is a lot of work every year and seeing new people get involved leaves me with a feeling I can’t describe in words. You just have to be there to experience it,” he went on. “Seeing your closest friends get together and do something like this leaves you feeling good at the end of the night when you can finally get some rest having put another year in the books.”
Big ticket raffle items this year included Mets and Yankees tickets, $100 off of a tattoo at Brooklyn Ink courtesy of local tattoo artist Matt Huff and gift cards to various neighborhood bars and eateries, among many others.
All funds raised at the event will be donated to Sloan in loving memory of Danny Fitzpatrick.
For more information on Cancer Can’t Kill Love, to donate, or to check out a full list of this year’s sponsors, visit www.cancercantkilllove.com.