Cancer is a disease that has affected just about everyone in one form or another. We’ve all known someone who has had it or heard sad stories about the toll it has taken on many of its victims. This column is about one such story – but with a much happier ending. As my last Postcards From Page Side column mentioned, our friend Chris Cartelli has battled and survived a fight with cancer.
Our story begins at Perpetual Groove’s Amberland festival in 2008, where Cartelli met his future wife, Audra, or “Audi” as we all know her. The two fell in love through the power of music that we all share, eventually leading to the pair’s wedding a few years later. As the website I will get to in a minute says: “About two weeks after Chris and Audi were married, Chris was diagnosed with mediastinal testicular cancer. Being that the tumor metastasized in Chris’s chest, he was first believed to have lymphoma. Chris bounced between many different doctors, all giving him different opinions, before he met Dr. Feldman at Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan. Dr. Feldman, an exceptional oncologist, offered Chris a spot in his clinical research trial which combats mediastinal testicular cancer. Chris was thankful for the offer and accepted. Although the treatment schedule was intense, and the combination of drugs were different than the typical chemotherapy used to fight testicular cancer, Chris came out on top. After four months, and two surgeries, Chris was officially in remission. Today he is not only an amazing husband and talented musician, he is also a cancer survivor.”
It is through the sheer willpower of Chris and Audi and the loving support of friends that Chris is doing great these days. In my recent talks with him, he has also mentioned that he was inspired to do something after his current battle, which led him to start Rocking Out Cancer. As the bio states: “Rocking Out Cancer Inc., the brainchild of Chris’s sister Trisha, was founded in March of 2012. Chris, his family, and best friend, combined the love that Chris has for live music, with the most important achievement of his life. Rocking Out Cancer aims to help fund the same type of clinical research trials that saved Chris’s life through Chris’s favorite past time – live music events. The power of music is indescribable. It can bring two people together, lift you up on a bad day, and empower you to keep improving. ROC hopes to empower others in helping fight a disease that affects so many.”
Cartelli has also started to tap into the musical relationships that he has developed to get this amazing foundation off the ground. So far bands such as the Disco Biscuits, STS9 and the aforementioned Perpetual Groove have donated tickets and merch items to support the cause. It is only fitting that Rocking Out Cancer’s first raffle is for two tickets to PGroove’s Amberland festival this Memorial Day weekend, the very place our story started. To enter the contest you must simply ”Like” the organization’s Facebook page, and also share the contest post on your own Facebook Wall.
Rocking Out Cancer will also have a table at the Mighty High Music Festival in Tuxedo Park, New York and will again be raffling off signed posters and will be giving away beer koozies and guitar pics. All in attendance are encouraged to stop by and donate. While many other summer plans are still being ironed out, the organization will also be offering other festival ticket packages shortly, as well as other very cool merchandise from supporters, like a rare STS9 Peaceblaster Vinyl.
[Photo of Chris and Audi Cartelli and Friends by Jeremy Gordon]
You can keep up with Rocking Out Cancer’s upcoming events by “liking” the organization’s Facebook page or following ROC’s Twitter feed and of course, checking their website. They will also be hosting live music events in July, August and September. Details will be announced very soon. While I’m privy to some of the specifics of these events, I’m not quite at liberty to say, as that’s certainly a spotlight that Chris and his foundation deserve to have all to themselves when the time is right.
At the end of the day, if you have ever met Chris you don’t need me to tell you he is one the most gracious, loving, caring and FUN music buddies I’ve ever met. If you haven’t yet crossed paths with the Newton Crosby guitarist, I have a feeling you will soon enough. As he humbly told me this week, “I’m really excited to get this off the ground and the initial response has been incredible. I’m all about making a difference in any way I can.”
Be sure to check out Rocking Out Cancer, pass along this info to any bands who may want to get involved or donate items, and please, support this cause! Keep up the good work, Mr. Cartelli.