© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
Musicians show a united front in support of Gary Estabrooks and hope hundreds of people come out to show their support during a benefit Saturday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Displaying one of the silent auction items up for grabs at the benefit, a Boston Bruins jersey signed by Brad Marchand, is: (front, from left) Wayne Damery, Larry Cormier, Steve LeBlanc, Daren White, (back, from left) Ed Cooke, Tony Robichaud, Basil Hicks and Dave Cameron.
AMHERST – Amherst’s Gary Estabrooks is a drummer who has played in countless benefit concerts for others, now his friends have gathered to stage a benefit concert for him.
“He was diagnosed with cancer just before Christmas in 2012,” said Larry Cormier, who is one of the organizers of the event. ‘He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and it’s in his stomach in the left side.”
Estabrooks was between jobs when he was blindsided by the disease.
Since his diagnoses he’s had five of six treatments, and will have his final treatment in early April. After that he has to have treatment every three months for two years.
Daren White recently went through his own battle with cancer and said it can be tough financially.
“I was lucky in that I still had a job,” said White, who is a teacher at Spring Street Academy. “But when you travel for treatment, those treatments have a cost. There’s the cost of meals and fuel, and if you have to stay overnight then you have to pay for a hotel.”
White said cancer treatment can be a lonely place but the support of others can make all the difference in the world.
“Gary is fighting this by himself. He’s the one who walks through the door and lays down for treatment, and everybody waits outside,” said White. “But the town of Amherst can come out and let him know he has a lot of support.
“It helps get you through.”
Estabrooks has played drums in many benefits in the past.
“Over the last twenty-plus years Gary’s been playing in a band he’s done lots of these for other people,” said fellow musician Steve LeBlanc. “He’s probably done two a year.”
It’s hoped he will be able to play at his own benefit Saturday night.
“Gary plays drums in a group and I think he’s feeling good enough to drum a couple tunes for their set,” said Cormier.
Bands at the benefit include: Free Fall, which will kick the music off at 6:30 p.m. Free Fall will be followed by Mischief, Plain Jane, Tony Robichaud and Friends, and Spare Change will be the finishing band.
Then benefit will feature a 50/50 and a silent auction.
One of the items up for sale at the silent auction is a Boston Bruins jersey signed by Bruins player Brad Marchant.
“Kody Orr (Ramblers captain) acquired the jersey,” said Cormier. “He is a friend of the Marchand family, and he had Brad’s brother pick the jersey up in Boston.”
The benefit starts Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, located at 5 Robie Street.
Game-4 of the Ramblers playoff series against Yarmouth is Saturday night at Amherst Stadium and the Rockabilly play at ARHS is also on Saturday night.
Cormiers said he hopes everybody from the game and play come out the benefit after those events are over.
Donations to help with Estabrooks’ treatments can be given at the door, and there is also a bank account at the Royal Bank in Amherst where people can make donations.
The bank account is a deposit only account, and the account number is 00113-003-501-370-1.
Any businesses or people who would like to make a donation or if they have something they can donate for the silent auction can contact Steve LeBlanc at 667-8348 or Larry Cormier at 694-2724.