I'm taking a break from my usual humor column here, with a serious appeal to you for your assistance. My friend, Mel Sherer, brought this to my attention. Mel writes:
"My friend, Kevin Nealon, has organized a series of benefit concerts at the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, California, featuring headline comedians, to help our friend Joe Kenny pay for the surgery and radiation treatment of multiple tumors. Kevin is appearing tonight and tomorrow night at the Comedy & Magic Club, also to benefit Joe.
Please consider coming to one of these events - or making a donation if you can't attend.
You can make a donation or get tickets to the shows at this benefit website.
Joe is a really great guy and he's just not going to be able to pay for the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of treatment he needs to have even a chance of a few more years of life. We don't want to lose Joe. Neither does Joe. Here, I'd better let Joe say it in his own words."
Dear friends and family,
Wanted to drop you a brief update. I completed the 20th radiation treatment today, for my metastasized skin cancer -- which is considered in transit to new tissue areas, as a stage 4 cancer -- and I have 18 more scheduled radiation treatments.
There is a "possibility" of even more radiation treatments that will be added if needed, and if I can tolerate them, as the radiation effects are cumulative. There also may be one or two more surgeries to remove lumps in the treatment areas, after the radiation is completed. This depends on progress and status after radiation.
I am being treated with directed radiation over my left back, shoulder, underarm, chest, and left skull from lower neck to mid ear.
I am beginning to experience stronger side effects from the radiation, with tiredness, occasional nausea, swelling and radiation burns, like second degree sunburns, over neck, shoulder, chest, and back. And some swelling of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and some tissue areas. As well as some hair loss.
Just yesterday, an image of The Virgin Mary appeared on my abdomen. I think this is a good sign.
But, all things considered, I am doing well. Sleeping a lot.
Tonight I wanted to express my love and thanks for a number of friends who have come together to help me deal with the high costs of my surgeries and radiation treatment. Costs that total a few hundred thousand dollars. Insurance will cover a chunk of this, but high premiums, deductibles, coinsurances and related expenses are substantial. And I haven't been able to work much due to surgery, treatment and recovery, so everything else is piling up as well.
Kevin Nealon, of WEEDS and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- my dear friend for more than 30 years, and ex-roommate in Hollywood -- has put together a series of benefit performances to help raise funds for my cancer treatment. And he has made a generous personal donation.
Mike Lacey of the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, CA has donated his showroom for several nights, and Kevin has secured commitments from a number of performers and friends, with perhaps more to come.
Tomorrow, Wed 01-13-10, Kevin will appear on the podcast produced by Adam Carolla, to promote the benefit concerts, and the web site and PayPal address being set up for donations. I'm not sure yet when the podcast will be available for listening, but it will be soon.
More information will follow, but I wanted to share this exciting news and recognize the generosity and kindness of all of those involved in setting this up, and let you all know about this.
I hope some of my friends in Southern California will be able to attend the benefit performances. Anyone who would like to attend should contact the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach CA for ticket information. I'm sure this information will be set up soon.
Each of the following celebrities is scheduled for one night at The Comedy & Magic Club as part of the benefit performances being put together:
Feb 2 - David Spade
Feb 3 - Howie Mandel
Feb 4 - Chelsea Handler,
Feb 17 - Ray Romano
Mar 2 - Dana Carvey
There is a possibility other nights "may" be added with additional performers. What a blessing these friends are. How uplifting. How generous to offer this gift of life.
As I know more I will share it with you. Please spread the word to your friends in Southern California, or others who might wish to donate.
And, how generous all of you are to share your kind words, thoughts and support. All your communications are appreciated and your encouragement and love mean a great deal.
Love and best to all,
Kevin did do the Adam Carolla Show. Here's a quick YouTube excerpt from that.
Please feel free to notify your friends and family or other websites, social networking places, etc., about these benefit performances.
One more note we received from Joe:
Dear Mark and Mel,
Thank you all so much for your compassionate response. I appreciate your interest in publicizing these events. That could help a great deal. Thank you.
I want you to know that without Kevin's incredible support, along with, Mike Lacey, David Spade, Howie Mandel, Chelsea Handler, Ray Romano, Dany Carvey, Adam Carolla, and all the other producers, advisers, suporters, and friends who have made this possible, I would not be able to complete these treatments.
This is a true gift of life.
I am so appreciative for their support and for yours.
I'll be off to the hospital shortly, and back late today, but please let me know if there's anything else I can provide to be of assistance.
Also, please note: Kevin is doing 2 shows, Friday and Saturday, January 15 and 16th at the Comedy & Magic Club as part of the benefit.
Please see the benefit website.
Tickets for the later shows will be available at the Comedy & Magic Club as the performance dates get closer.
Thank you all in advance for any assistance you can provide.
Follow Mark C. Miller on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MarkMiller123