Thousands gathered at Carson Tahoe Hospital Friday night to support cancer patients at the annual HopeFest event.
HopeFest is Carson Tahoe’s annual fundraiser for cancer patients. All of the proceeds from the night go towards patient support, providing funds for cancer patients who may need help paying for treatment, paying medical or other bills if they have to be out of work for treatment or providing no-cost housing.
“This is so important because every year it increases the number of people who need help to be able to stay on top of everything,” said Laurie Burt, development specialist with Carson Tahoe.
The event features a concert as well as food and drink from local vendors, such as Cracker Box, Js’ Bistro, and Lagunitas Brewing Company, for patrons to enjoy. This year, HopeFest featured Carson City local and American Idol star Molly Seals and The Way Backs, a popular progressive soulgrass group.
“I heard on the radio that they were going to be here and they are a band I enjoy, but I have had more than a few members of my family who have dealt with cancer and I thought I may as well hear a band I have only heard recorded and help with the fight for cancer,” said patron Art Seymour. “All these find people are donating their time and music and beer and hey, I may as well help out too.”
Several people set up chairs on the Cancer Center lawn to watch The Way Backs perform against a Nevada sunset. Attendees enjoyed the music, with many getting up and dancing to the soulgrass band.
The event was free to attend, however, organizers were selling raffle tickets and donations to plant a flag in their flag garden to raise the money. Patrons had the possibility of winning a new 2016 Toyota Corolla, 2016 Ford Focus or $10,000.
It seemed like nearly everyone from the community was out at the cancer center Friday night, even Carson public figures such as Mayor Bob Crowell, Fire Chief Bob Schreihans and City Manager Nick Marano.
The Carson City Fire Department even came out between calls to support the cancer patients. Several of the firefighters purchased flags to place in the flag garden to support cancer patients past and present.
For firefighter Joedy Brocchini being at HopeFest was important, as his mom Leslie McGarry has been a patient there for several years.
McGarry has been fighting Metastatic Stage 4 breast cancer in her brain and chest for the last 10 years. She calls herself both a survivor and a fighter, as she was just re-diagnosed after finishing treatment in April, so for her, the support shown for the cancer center was great.
“This is really special because if we didn’t have (events) like this, I wouldn’t be alive now,” McGarry said. “It is because of generous people who help people in my situation.
“First the facility is incredible and the staff is incredible, they are some of my best friends and they are people I want to hang out with, even if it is for cancer treatment.”