Harrison News-Herald Article, Monday November 17, 2003
By ROBERT A. DEFRANK
The Christmas season is a time that brings out the best in people, and one area band is putting on a fund-raising benefit, "A Christmas To Cure Cancer," for that purpose.
The band Aereon will perform a special concert on Dec. 7 at Dover High School to benefit the cause. Band members said the effort has a significant meaning and they hope others will participate and raise funds for research and a possible cure.
Aereon, which includes local natives Mark Puskarich, Cody Romshak, Dave Clo, Lorne VanFossen and Corrina VanFossen, was formed when the four men played together in high school. They had been planning to record a Christmas album for fun nearly four years ago when Lorne was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He recovered, and Puskarich got the idea to use the band and CD to raise funds for cancer research.
He said the band raised close to $35,000 last year. About 400 people attended a Christmas concert in Worthington, Ohio and helped to raise nearly $10,000 to aid the fight.
I don’t want to jinx it, but we hope to raise that much or better," he said. "The most rewarding par of this has been the letters, e-mails and phone calls from cancer survivors or from people who have been touched by cancer through supporting a loved one or losing a loved one," he said. "Sharing their stories makes you want to work that much harder."
He said the band has posted some of the letters and e-mails on their website.
Puskarich added that promotional postcards were sent to last year’s contributors, as well as radio stations in Uhrichsville, Canton and New Philadelphia. Christmas to Cure Cancer is a non-profit organization and donations may qualify as tax-deductible. Proceeds go to The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
Aereon will perform Christmas and seasonal music, and its styles include blues, country, folk and heavy metal. Puskarich said the band will perform at the Villa Milano in Columbus Dec. 5 and at Dover High School Dec. 7. In the Dover show, copies of last year’s CD will be included in the ticket price. He said they will not have a new CD out until next year, but there will be several new songs at the concerts.
Among the new songs are "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" and "Where Have You Gone," an original song about Jesus as seen from Mary’s perspective.
Mike Albert, an Elvis impersonator, will also perform at the Dover show to help raise funds for cancer research. Lorne is also a guitar player for Albert’s band.
In the Columbus show, a silent auction will be held including Ohio State University clothing, tickets for basketball games items from the Jack Nicklaus Golf Museum and restaurant gift certificates.
Puskarich said people can also buy CDs and tickets at the band’s website, www.achristmastocurecancer.com, or they can mail checks and orders to him at 5226 Columbine Court, Columbus, Ohio 43230. The band is asking for a minimum donation of $15 per CD.
Puskarich said it is also rewarding to see how helpful people have been in terms of assisting and promoting the fund-raisers. He said the school system in Uhrichsville has been extremely supportive to that end.
Puskarich noted that the most challenging part of the fund-raisers is for everyone to make enough time to plan, promote and rehearse. However, he said they have help from his mother, Lois Puskarich, her friends and other volunteers. He continued that all of the band members and many of their friends contribute to promote the events and sell tickets.
The band owns a local recording studio where it makes its CDs. Clo’s home in Nashville also has a recording studio in its basement.
Puskarich said the band would like to do annual benefit events and get CDs out as often as possible, and it is in the process of building a new, bigger recording studio.
He also hopes to build partnerships with other cancer research hospitals in the U.S. and sell CDs on their behalf. The band has already made contacts at the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation, a national organization.