Photos courtesy of the Cancer Support Community
By Nathalie Casthely
Can a guitar make a difference in the lives of people facing a cancer diagnosis? Some of the brightest lights in music think it can. Performers are joining the #4Chords4Cancer campaign by autographing a D-28 acoustic guitar donated by Martin Guitar and enhanced with custom engraving by Dave Nichols of Custom Pearl Inlay. Just as cancer touches people from all walks of life, the guitar is being signed by artists representing all “walks” of music, including pop, country, rock, Broadway and classical music.
The D-28 has travelled around the nation: it ventured backstage at the Beacon Theater, Cedar Park Center and Winter Garden Theater, hung out on the set of ABC’s Nashville and flew in for the Mississippi Blues Festival. The guitar’s journey will end on April 14th in New York City, where it will be auctioned off at the Cancer Support Community’s annual Spring Celebration gala to support their many programs—all provided free of charge to families impacted by cancer.
Jorma Kaukonen, one of the most important guitarists of our time and known for his work with Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane (which recently received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy), commented: “Anything we can do to raise awareness for the Cancer Support Community is a worthy thing. A signature is a small thing… but it is an honor to have mine on this fine instrument.”
Five-time Grammy-nominated pop star Sara Bareilles, the composer-lyricist of the upcoming Broadway musical Waitress, wanted to send her love and well wishes to those facing the challenges of a cancer diagnosis. Peter Yarrow, of the legendary Peter Paul and Mary, whose fellow band member Mary Travers succumbed to complications from leukemia, expressed his support in simple yet powerful words: “We take this effort very personally. We are with you.”
This year alone, an estimated 1.6 million people in the US will be diagnosed with cancer, a diagnosis which often triggers anxiety, distress and depression. The Cancer Support Community, in partnership with Healtheo360, created the campaign in order to increase awareness of the free resources available to families dealing with cancer. “The guitar is a symbol of hope and community” says David Duplay, Founder and CEO of Healtheo360, a “Caring Network” where patients living with chronic conditions find support, encouragement and information. “We are truly heartened by the responses we have received from musicians and performers.”
#4Chords4Cancer is not just about music stars and legends. Music-lovers around the world can join the campaign by taking videos of themselves playing four chords and sharing the clip with the hashtag #4Chords4Cancer .
“We know there are many people who need hope and support, and who need to feel that they are part of a loving community,” said Linda House, President of the Cancer Support Community. “This campaign aims to draw attention to a wide reaching community of people eager to provide support for those who need it. Everybody knows someone touched by cancer, and now, everybody has somewhere to turn. No one has to be alone.”
Last year, the Cancer Support Community delivered nearly $46 million in emotional and educational services to patients and families, free of charge.
For more information, go to www.4Chords4Cancer.org