Childhood cancer charity mixes it up with ‘Concerts 4 Hope’

Sept. 29 show at Warren’s Hot Rock Sports Bar & Music Café

By: Brian Louwers | C&G Newspapers | Published September 7, 2018

 Restaurant fundraising was organized by Sara Gochanour, whose son, Noah, was diagnosed with metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma in August 2014.  Noah’s battle remains ongoing, and Gochanour is  A Mission of Love’s president. The nonprofit has some local upcoming fundraising events.

Restaurant fundraising was organized by Sara Gochanour, whose son, Noah, was diagnosed with metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma in August 2014. Noah’s battle remains ongoing, and Gochanour is A Mission of Love’s president. The nonprofit has some local upcoming fundraising events.

Photo provided by JD Marshall

WARREN/STERLING HEIGHTS  — It’s been a solemn mission, but for more than two years, people have laughed to support Warren resident JD Marshall’s efforts to ease the burden of families and kids battling childhood cancer. Now, it’s time to rock.

Marshall founded A Mission of Love after his daughter, Stephaine, died in 2015. He’s since hosted a series of Comedy 4 Cancer fundraisers in her honor. The events, featuring established and up-and-coming comedians, help the nonprofit support families when they need it the most. Donations have been used to ease financial burdens and put smiles on the faces of young patients with gifts.

And the group recently pledged to do even more. Leaders are planning a 25 Days of Christmas series in December, when they hope to provide more than two dozen gifts.  

UAW Local 228 is the sponsor of a beer fest fundraiser on Oct. 5. All of the proceeds will benefit A Mission of Love. The local chapter will also sponsor upcoming Comedy 4 Cancer events in November and January.

The renewed effort has also inspired changes in the nonprofit’s entertainment fundraising. A Mission of Love is adding a Concerts 4 Hope series set to begin Sept. 29 with a Hardcore 4 Hope heavy metal concert at Warren’s Hot Rock Sports Bar & Music Café, 24300 Hoover Road.

“It’s along the same lines as Comedy 4 Cancer. We use the money that we generate for our monthly gifts that we give to the kids, and also to financially assist childhood cancer families,” Marshall said. “Now that we have a sponsor and we’re starting to get a little bigger, we’re going to take it in a different direction.”

Marshall said the group hopes to build a bank of resources and streamline the application process to help families in need more efficiently. In the past, Comedy 4 Cancer fundraisers were planned in advance and geared toward helping named recipients.

“Our ultimate goal is in December, we’re going to do a 25 Days of Christmas. Instead of doing a monthly award to a kid battling cancer, we’re going to help 25 kids in December,” Marshall said.

Events like Hardcore 4 Hope are being created to help them do that.

“We have four heavy metal bands playing,” said Jenna Basaj, of Sterling Heights, who serves as the secretary for A Mission of Love and also works at Hot Rock.

The show will feature an opening set from the Flint-based Our Vices. Also performing are On Our Behalf, from Royal Oak; Neracoal, also from Flint; and Absence of Despair, from Providence, Rhode Island.

“I came to him (Marshall) with an idea in February about a way to bring more money into A Mission of Love, so that we can do more best day awards,” Basaj said. “A way we could do that would be to do more concerts. We want to do at least three concerts a year, and all of that money goes to A Mission of Love.”

Beyond the upcoming concert, A Mission of Love will also be the benefiting charity at Chipotle Mexican Grill, 32 E. 14 Mile Road in Madison Heights, from 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 29. Patrons who mention the charity will dine knowing that 33 percent of the proceeds from their bill will go to A Mission of Love.

The restaurant fundraising was organized by Sara Gochanour, whose son, Noah, 12, was diagnosed with metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma in August 2014. The family received the charity’s first gift. Noah’s battle remains ongoing, and Gochanour is A Mission of Love’s president.

General admission tickets for the Hardcore 4 Hope show, scheduled to run from 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 29, cost $15. VIP booth seating is available in packages of four and six seats for $80 and $120, respectively, which includes a free pizza and a pitcher of beer or pop. To purchase tickets, visit concerts4hope.com/purchase-tickets.

 The beer fest will run from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 5 at the UAW Local 228 Hall, 39209 Mound Road in Sterling Heights.

For more information about A Mission of Love or upcoming Comedy 4 Cancer events, visit amissionoflove.com.