Despite the rain and COVID restrictions, the emotion, traditions and outpouring of love remained at the 12th Red Corner Benefit in Union Township on Saturday.
The music event raises money for pediatric cancer patients. Everything goes to a different patient every year.
Benefit co-founder Tammy Roehrig wiped tears from her eyes when Brooke Hedrick, 22, a former pediatric cancer patient who had supported Red Corner, had just dedicated a song she was performing to Tammy.
Brooke was 12 in 2011 when, as the third child, she tried to help Red Corner with medical and living expenses while battling cancer.
Roehrig said the nonprofit has become as close as families over the years. Often, mothers of previous recipients help new families selected to receive money.
“It’s literally a community,” says Roehrig, who works as a loan officer who co-founded the benefit with her Pottstown-born husband Kevin McColgan, a professional poker player.
Many of the recipients, such as Brooke, return to give back and volunteer.
Roehrig likes to describe them all, talking about their pursuits in college and in the world. On tables near the main stage are pictures of all recipients.
Some of the beneficiaries from the previous Red Corner Benefit events will be on display on Saturday. (LISA SEPARATE — READ EAGLE)
This year’s recipient is Ellie Makarevitz of Douglasville, who just turned 3 and recently had a stem cell transplant. Because she was immunocompromised, she was unable to attend the event except for the fireworks scheduled for the evening, Roehrig said.
According to the Red Corner Benefit website, Ellie was born with a tumor on her tailbone called a sacrococcygeal teratoma.
Her parents, Greg and Melissa, were never told to have it removed, no follow-up surgery was planned. Her tumor became malignant, metastasized and grew to about 2 inches, and then scans showed 10 spots on her lungs, Red Corner said.
“In addition to Ellie’s health issues and treatment needs, she’s a brand new big sister to pre-twins. While insurance *should* cover medical bills, there are additional costs at a time when their incomes suffer,” said Red Corner. in bed and Greg has been calling a lot from work.”
A recent photo of Ellie Makarevitz. (LISA SEPARATE — READ EAGLE)
The 600 people who showed up to hear 18 bands and see fireworks at the 12th Red Corner Benefit were a long way from the 3,000 who showed up in 2019, but Roehrig was happy to host the event after COVID restrictions hit an in-between. personal event last year.
Usually the event includes a roast pork and beer garden and people will often camp on the property.
Last year the fundraising was virtual and this year there is also a virtual component that will still accept donations until Sunday.
Roehrig said the children’s play area had to be cut off this year as well, but the hope is that next year there will be more facilities and a larger crowd will return.
Roehrig has previously said that the idea for the Benefit came about when she and her husband lived in Los Angeles.
The benefit began as a tradition where participants took an annual road trip in the fall from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend The Bridge School Benefit.
The Bridge School is a non-profit organization that helps people with severe speech and physical disabilities participate fully in community events through alternative means of communication.
After several years of supporting the benefit, the idea was born to bring that tradition to the Douglassville area to help children struggling with childhood cancer, according to previous accounts of the event.