Country Rocker Mark McKinney Headlines Oct. 14 Benefit for Two Special San Angelo Children
SAN ANGELO, TX — Make plans this weekend to enjoy the Bill Aylor RiverStage Saturday at the Sing For a Cure event where Texas Music star Mark McKinney along with San Angelo musicians come together to support two area families with children who are battling Leukemia.
Rusty White is the father of 6-year-old Hunter, one of four children impacted by the disease. He said that Hunter was diagnosed Oct 17, 2016. Previous to diagnosis, the family took their son often to the doctor to find what was ailing their son. Finally they visited an emergency clinic as they were previously told that it was normal growing pains or that their son simply had diarrhea. At the clinic, the nurse practitioner was so alarmed at their son's health that she called an ambulance and had him sent directly to the hospital for a transfusion.
"His lips were turning black it was so bad," states White. Finally they were given an answer, their son had Pre B-ALL Leukemia. "We thought we were about to lose our son," says White. Last year, between poor health, doctor's visits, blood work and trips back and forth to Lubbock, missed work, three other children to support, the family was struggling. Hunter has been able to return to school this year, but he continues to take daily chemotherapy pills and return for blood testing in Lubbock every four weeks as part of his three-year treatment plan. But he is surviving.
Aspen Awalt, now 7, was diagnosed with Precursor B-cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia Jan 27, 2016. Throughout 2015 she was hospitalized with high fevers. After repeated blood tests gave no answers, doctors chose to have a bone marrow test and within 24 hours the Awalt family knew a fate they were more than familiar with—Cancer. Shayla Awalt, Aspen's mother said, "It was extremely hard... we lost my father in March 2014 to colon cancer and Aspen was very close to him. He had a port, chemotherapy and died. Aspen wondered if she would die like her Popo. She asked me, 'What will we do? Popo has this and died.'" Aspen is very close to Shayla's brother as well who is also a cancer survivor and helped put Aspen's fears to rest. Aspen is now back at school and a cheerleader, but still takes chemotherapy pills each day, and returns to Lubbock for treatment and testing very regularly. Shayla stated, "In the beginning I was angry, looking for someone to blame... how am I strong enough to get her through this? Then I realized if she can do this, I can too. She's my hero. And when she asks me, 'Why me?' I tell her, God chose you because he knew you were stronger than mommy."
A group of organizers came together to help these families and their little heroes by holding a benefit concert at the RiverStage Saturday.
The Song for a Cure Benefit concert has a line up of local music groups for everyone to enjoy and the proceeds go to help ease the financial stress that comes with assisting these two children, Hunter and Aspen, beat the odds. The concert doors will open at 6 p.m. and the benefit will feature Texas music favorites like Mark McKinney, Judson Cole and The Hagglers.
Mark McKinney. He is a west Texas native from Big Spring who moved to Austin in the 1990s to pursue his music. In the summer of 2006, Mark released his first solo album, Get It On and hit the road touring full time. McKinney has published four studio records and charted 15 Top 10 hits on the Texas Country Music Charts. Mark's brand new album, World In Between released in January 2017, has already received much critical acclaim.
Here is the latest from McKinney, from he most recent record. This single is titled, "The Bridge."
Judson Cole. Back in 2012, The Judson Cole Band was just barely getting started at Blaine's Pub downtown. With the help of their debut record, Eastern Skies, and its three hit singles, the band now tours across Texas and the southern U.S., but remains based here in San Angelo. The band consists of Judson Cole, Bobby Schuyler, and Rylee Ramos, and Seath Smith, and Kory Rodger. They say thier sound is as diverse as their backgrounds and is held together by a common thread of friendship, soul and a love for music.
Here is one of Cole's original singles, "Goodbye Dallas."
The Sing For a Cure Concert tickets can be purchased in advance on Stubwire. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Doors open at 6 p.m. , and the concert begins at 7 p.m. Oct.14 at the Bill Aylor Riverstage.