Integrity Matters Broadcasts
October 8 , 2007
Event to benefit research foundation
By SUNITA VIJAYAN
The Salinas Californian
For Reed Kavner of Carmel, today is not just any other day.
It marks the one-year anniversary of a surgery that removed a tumor caused by Ewing's sarcoma, an aggressive pediatric bone cancer.
The successful operation in a New York City hospital, called an internal hemipelvectomy, left Kavner walking tall with a slight limp. It also gave this blond young man from Carmel a maturity beyond his 20 years.
RICHARD GREEN/THE SALINAS CALIFORNIAN
Reed Kavner, founder of the Ewing Research Foundation, stands Friday outside Carmel's Sunset Center. Kavner will host a show later this month featuring young performers from around the country.
"It's given me a whole lot of perspective - I know it's cliché but it's true," Kavner said Thursday. "I feel more confident, and challenges don't seem that daunting. I have a better understanding of what daunting is."
On Oct. 13, Kavner will hold the first event for the Ewing's Research Foundation, which he founded - a fundraiser that will showcase five child prodigies and performers from throughout the country at the Sunset Center in Carmel.
Ranging from comedy to a jazz vocalist, the show will feature performances by Los Angeles residents Sydney Park, 9, and Mark Yu, 8; Susan May, 16, of Saint John, Ind.; Chad Juros, 18, of Atlantic City, N.J.; and 'Til Dawn, an a cappella group from the San Francisco Bay Area.
He once hoped to present big-name performers, Kavner said, but changed his mind after seeing some of the young artists on daytime television and discovering others via the Internet.
"I was in a hotel room watching 'Ellen DeGeneres,' and Mark Yu was on her show," he recalled. "I said, 'Hey, we know more kids like him who have talent in something people love seeing.' It's just good, pure raw talent and the ability to entertain that transcends age and interest."
A good move, it turned out.
"Most of them said 'yes' right away," Kavner said. "They're all doing it without compensation."
Local businesses, organizations and friends in theater are helping by covering the cost of renting the center, hiring a technical crew, and by providing show business expertise, he said.
Kavner's journey began in June 2006, when the Ewing's sarcoma was diagnosed. It was the summer after his freshman year at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
The initial shock helped him keep other emotions at bay.
"There was no time to worry or feel sad or angry," Kavner said. "It was important for me to understand exactly what was going on."
During his year of treatment, his idea of a foundation to help others dealing with similar cancers began to take shape.
"I needed something to do with my time," he said. "I couldn't get a job or take classes, and I couldn't commit to anything because my schedule to go to the hospital was irregular."
First, he created a Web site and opened a bank account for the nonprofit organization. Then, Kavner got in contact with Nick Valvano, brother of the late Jim Valvano, a North Carolina State University basketball head coach who died of cancer in 1993. The Valvanos had created the "V Foundation" to help fund cancer research.
Besides sharing the fundamentals of running a foundation, Kavner said, the "V Foundation" has lent him the use of its medical review board, which goes over research proposals that come in.
Donations pile up quickly
Already, Kavner said, the Ewing's Research Foundation has garnered nearly a half-million dollars from donors across the country. They also have pledged almost $450,000 to a research facility in Phoenix, Ariz., he said.
Reed's parents, Allyson and Bob Kavner, said their first concern since learning of their son's diagnosis has been supporting him through surgery, chemotherapy and recovery.
"From the beginning, I said to myself, 'He's going to be fine, he's going to be fine,'" Allyson Kavner said. "I really believe in the power of positive thinking, and it kept me going. It was brutal surgery."
Turning to the Internet for information, she said, the family spent hours and hours searching for treatments and insight on the cancer.
They are helping their son with whatever he needs at the benefit as well as the foundation, Allyson Kavner said, because they are determined to make a difference in research that will produce a cure one day.
After the agony of her son's cancer and treatment, she said, she has great hopes for the future.
"Never once did he say, 'Why did it happen to me?'" she said. "None of us know how many days we have on this Earth, but if he lives each day happy and successful, that's all I hope for him: to be happy every day of his life."
Friends and colleagues: the operative verb is "purchase" at: www.RisingStarsCarmel.com or at the Carmel Sunset Center 831-620-2048.
- purchase tickets and attend - bringing family and friends – use link: www.RisingStarsCarmel.com
- purchase tickets www.RisingStarsCarmel.com and forward the extras to individuals you know, who themselves will make them available to deserving young people or individuals who might have an ongoing interest in the project itself www.letsbeatthis.org
- or, forward this memo to everyone you know and ask them to purchase tickets and help with this noble effort: www.RisingStarsCarmel.com - someone told me this is viral marketing, so let’s start the virus
Thank you, in advance, for helping.
James F. Bracher
Dimension Five Consultants, Inc.
Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership
1400 Munras Avenue
Monterey, California 93940