BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Rockin’ for a Match celebrates its 10th year of rocking and saving lives with a virtual event this Saturday from 7-10 p.m.
Clarkston resident Taylor Lang, Rockin’ for a Match founder and president, shared the event looks different this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but it will still be great.
“We have about 15 performances. We have five different speakers who are survivors, donors or recipients to share their personal stories,” she said. “What’s unique about this is some of them are from out of state so they wouldn’t be able to participate if it was a local and in person event. There’s been some silver lining.”
The main purpose of the event is to raise awareness, register new bone marrow donors to the national registry, and raise funds towards processing the donor kits. A virtual bone marrow drive will start at 7 p.m.
Lang noted people can fill out information to see if they are eligible. Then, a kit will be sent to them in the mail.
“It’s an easy process,” Lang said. “The kits cost $45 for each to process so we raise funds to cover the costs of the kits. Our goal this year is 100 kits. We usually do 75 locally so we thought if we could at least 100 people signed up that would be great.”
An auction includes artwork from Dave Santia, a speed performance painter from the Detroit area.
Entertainment includes Santia, Emcee Steve Black of WRIF-FM and Gilda’s Club, AJ Kish, Dan Tillery, Tosha Owens, Brandon Calhoon, Brendon Linsley, Adam Gardner of Guster, Oak City Roots, Carmel Liburdi, The Called, CHIT, Corey Cassidy, Ali McManus and LiQuiD Belly Dance.
Lang added everyone has volunteered to put the event together, including the artists and musicians.
“They are all now and always have been graciously donating their time to us because they believe in our cause,” she said. “It’s different this year because a lot of these artists depend on performing in bars and restaurants for their income. They are having a tough time getting income to support their families. An extra shout out to them because even though times are tough, they are still willing to give us their hearts.”
Rockin’ for a Match began in 2011 after Lang was diagnosed with Stage 4 Blood Cancer.
“I have always loved music so my friends and family got together and got local musicians involved,” she said. “Our first event, we had about 15 different musicians performing. We had a bone marrow drive. We got over 200 people onto the registry as potential bone marrow donors that day.”
Lang added she is nine years cancer-free and is continuing to help other patients.
“I was able to find a match, not through that event, but I was able to receive a transplant that saved my life,” she said. “I am very grateful. I just continue paying it forward each year.”
Lang had one lump on her neck. Her doctor said she was probably fighting something and her blood work came back normal.
“Then, over the next few months I had more lumps popping up on my neck. As the months progressed, I had to really demand further testing. I went in for a cat scan and that’s when I was diagnosed,” she shared. “Interestingly enough I felt great. I was really in the best shape in my life. I just had these annoying lumps that were on my neck. They were painful. I really had to be my own advocate for everything.”
Rockin’ for a Match is an established Michigan-based nonprofit organization.
For more information, please visit www.rockinforamatch.org or www.facebook.com/RFAM2. The link to the event page is facebook.com/events/336593081096609.