Pianist and cancer survivor Crissa Constantine said shewants to help raise awareness for immunotherapy and cancer research.
Parksville resident Constantine will be having a fundraiser concert to raise money for cancer research at the Deeley Research Centre in Victoria.
We Are Free, Constantine said was inspired by an eagle released she witnessed about three years ago.
Constantine will be joined by pianist Margaret Nelson, who is also from Parksville, and the Ballenas Jazz Combo, a group of music students from Ballenas Secondary School.
Admission for the show is by donation. Constantine’s latest CD We Are Free will be available for purchase by donation too.
We Are Free can be found at Cranky Dog Music (154 Morison Ave.) or Café Adagio (147 Harrison Ave.) in Parksville or The Bookcase (676 Memorial Ave.) in Qualicum Beach.
Constantine said all the money raised will be going to the research centre to support Dr. Brad Nelson and his upcoming clinical trials that will mobilize the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Constantine, who has been in remission from ovarian cancer for the past 10 years, said she finds it so exciting that trials like this will be happening on the Island.
“If nothing else, I want to raise awareness and encourage them down there with what they’re doing,” Constantine said. “I’m acting like a cheerleader, basically, with this.”
She said the donations aren’t her only reason for raising awareness.
“Scientists have proven that when people feel appreciated, they work better,” Constantine said.
Debbie Greenway, who is from the BC Cancer Agency in Victoria, said, “Crissa is raising awareness and funds for the BC Cancer Foundation in support of immunotherapy research happening at the Deeley Research Centre in Victoria.”
Greenway said scientists and doctors will be working together to stimulate the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
“Clinical trials are expected to begin by 2017, and they’re hoping to minimize or eliminate the need for toxic treatments such as chemo and radiation in patients whose cancer recurs,” Greenway said.
Constantine said people who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer don’t usually survive past Stage 3 of ovarian cancer.
“But luckily for me, the chemo and radiation helped. I was one of the lucky ones,” Constantine said. She added that immunotherapy is a “very promising avenue,” considering she had two surgeries with side effects plus the chemotherapy and radiation.
The show is Friday, June 3 at the MAC (133 McMillan St., Parskville). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.
Constantine will also be having another concert in Nanaimo on June 24 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. All proceeds will go to the research centre as well.
For more information, visit www.bccancerfoundation.com/events/upcoming-events or www.crissa-constantine.com.