These Kids Wear Crowns wanted to do something for their community, and Mt. Slesse middle school wanted to do something for a sick student belonging to their community.
What resulted was the formation of an all-ages rock event with proceeds raised going to BC Children’s Hospital – and a hope to raise awareness around childhood cancers.
On April 5, These Kids Wear Crowns will be headlining a concert at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre in honour of 15-year-old Mac Shand.
Last year, on the last day of Grade 9, when most kids were dreaming of the dog days of summer, Mac was forced to face cancer head on.
He had noticed a small bubble at the back of his throat a month earlier, which was initially diagnosed as a canker sore. But the bubble grew, filling with a milky, yellow substance. An emergency appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist caused concern. But still, Mac’s parents weren’t prepared for the results of the biopsy.
On June 28, 2011, Mac was diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer.
“I immediately lost it,” said Mac’s mom Deborah. “I could not believe he was telling us our son had cancer – it was the hardest day of our lives.”
For six months Mac endured MRI scans, CT scans, bone scans, PET scans, and bone marrow biopsies. He was put through multiple surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, and blood transfusion treatments. There were daily trips to BC Children’s Hospital, the cancer clinic, and overnight hospital stays. His energy depleted, he lost his appetite, and his once growing body had withered down to 87 pounds.
It was a lot for a teenager, who just wanted to be a normal teenage boy, to take.
Now cancer free, and back at Sardis secondary part-time, Mac’s family hopes the concert will help other families in similar situations.
“I think this benefit concert is an amazing opportunity for us to get the word out about childhood cancer,” said Deborah. “I am so grateful that they are doing this as it will help spread the word that research is needed and that there are so many children diagnosed with cancer every year that need our help and support.”
For Alex Johnson, lead singer of These Kids Wear Crowns, it was a no-brainer getting involved.
The Chilliwack band had been wanting to play an all-ages concert in their hometown, which they hadn’t played in more than two years. When Johnson contacted former teacher Sandi Rae at Mt. Slesse middle school, where Mac was a student, the pieces came together.
“It’s a perfect way to pay respect to the community we know and love while raising money and awareness for the hospital for all the great work they do,” said Johnson.
The band hopes to raise $5,000.
Opening for These Kids Wear Crowns are Rags to Radio and Oh No! Yoko, both Lower Mainland bands, as well as Sardis secondary band State of Bliss.
The concert starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are $20, available at Sardis secondary, Mt. Slesse middle, Vedder middle, and G.W. Graham middle-secondary, as well as Long and McQuade, and online at www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca.
There will also be a free barbecue at 5 p.m. in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre parking lot before the concert where members of These Kids Wear Crowns will be serving hot dogs.