Top Stories, Town Talk Features

A Song of Hope

Every year, millions of people throughout the country receive a cancer diagnosis, and even more are impacted by the disease. Since launching in 2010, the Sing for Siteman musical event has featured world-renowned artists performing to honor cancer patients and benefit research at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. Last year, Sing for Siteman had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, but it’s returning in a virtual format.

The event’s proceeds support Siteman’s Discovery Fund, which allows the cancer center to recruit faculty and researchers, support new research projects, provide community outreach and purchase the latest research equipment and tools. Events like Sing for Siteman weren’t the only things put on hold in 2020. This year, the Discovery Fund will support early detection and prevention initiatives because people also put off important screenings for things like breast, prostate, cervical and lung cancers. “Last year, screening dropped off more than 90%, but cancer didn’t sleep through the pandemic,” Siteman oncologist Dr. Lannis Hall says. “Unfortunately, men and women now are presenting with more advanced and difficult to treat cases.”

The funds raised by Sing for Siteman will support the center’s Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD). The program is dedicated to breaking down local and regional barriers to cancer education, prevention and treatment. Hall notes that this is a crucial service because the mortality rate for many cancers is significantly higher for underserved populations. “The good news is that early detection means significantly better outcomes regardless of race or ethnicity,” she says. “We continue to be dedicated to providing lifesaving care in a timely fashion to our community. Everyone should know not to put their cancer screening on the back burner.”

Sing for Siteman, which is presented by Edward Jones, will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 20. The concert will include performances by musicians from Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Jazz St. Louis. Ellie Kemper and Al Roker will be VIP guests, and event co-chair Kim Eberlein notes that their involvement is one of the benefits the virtual format provides. “We wish we could all be together in person, but this way, we have the ability to reach anyone with a computer,” she says, adding that patients come to Siteman from all over the country. “We can bring more people together to enjoy great music, listen to some compelling stories from patients and hear from cancer doctors. It’s a very fun way to support an important cause that affects us all.”

This year, St. Louisans have another way to help raise funds for Siteman Cancer Center along with the concert. Fashion Fights Cancer offers the chance to win a one-of-a-kind clothing item while supporting an important cause. Twelve artists and designers created unique lab coats, which can be viewed and bid on through Oct. 20 at The Vault Luxury Resale. All proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the center, and The Vault will donate 10% of sales when Sitemen is mentioned at the register.

“We are overwhelmed and incredibly appreciative of the artistry that went into the designs of these ‘traditional’ white lab coats,” Fashion Fights Cancer chair and Sing for Siteman co-chair Susan Sherman says. “Some are completely reworked and transformed! The 12 designers gave generously, pouring their hearts and souls into each piece, and we are incredibly grateful.”

For information on Sing for Siteman and Fashion Fights Cancer and to purchase tickets, visit singforsiteman.org.

Photos courtesy of Sing for Siteman

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