Event Raising Awareness for Head & Neck Cancer Brings Pam Tillis & Friends to Franklin

faces of hnc cancer

debra sheridanDebra Sheridan can eat and drink for the first time in a decade, thanks to arecent surgery at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital that rebuilt her esophagus. That’s the reality for many head and neck cancer survivors, and Sheridan is working to raise awareness through music as part of a fundraising event scheduled for Tuesday, February 2 at Gray’s on Main in downtown Franklin.

Performers for the evening including Pam Tillis; the South Street Players; Grammy-winning songwriter Gordon Kennedy (Eric Clapton’s “Change the World”); Gary Talley of the Box Tops, who has played with the likes of Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, The Drifters and David Lee Roth; Eric Bikalis (The Pointer Sisters, Dolly Parton, Bette Midler, and scores of hit television shows); Vail Johnson (Kenny G, Herbie Hancock, Whitney Houston, Michael Bolton); and local favorites Dawn Beyer, Jay Brown and Kristin Larkin. Tickets are just $25, and can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com, keyword: FACES OF HNC.

“I never smoked and drank beer occasionally, but my life was drastically changed by tonsil cancer. We know a lot about breast and prostate and lung cancer, but head and neck cancer needs the kind of awareness and funds for research that can help people who can’t eat or speak after undergoing the harsh treatment,” Sheridan said. “This event includes some world-class performers, and we invite the public to join us for what will be an amazing evening.”

From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, guests can enjoy cameo performances from the host of artists, peruse the silent auction and order food and drink from Gray’s extensive artisan dinner and bar menu. Treatment for head and neck cancer is established, and harsh. Experimental treatments are being explored, and only available at a small handful of research hospitals in America. So far, all treatments affect the ability to breath, eat, and speak. Sheridan says the challenges of eating, drinking, breathing and speaking are typically irreversible. Only recently have surgeries, like the one she just underwent successfully, allowed survivors to be able to regain some of the most basic functions.

“For many of us, being in public is uncomfortable due to the effects of treatment to kill the cancer. That can lead to a life of isolation, and until we bring awareness and research to prevention and eradication, nothing will change,” she said. “I made the decision to work every day to do what I can to ensure that not one more person has to endure what I have. This event is a step in that direction.”

In addition to Gray’s on Main, Miller Piano Specialists of Franklin has signed on as a major sponsor, but opportunities to support the event are still available. For more information, contact Sherry Carlisle Smith at 615-771-0020.

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Andrea has always loved the written word. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and a Masters in Creative Writing, both from Belmont University. Both sides of her family have lived in Williamson County for generations, so writing for Williamson Source is the perfect fit. She loves to hear stories of what Williamson County was like when her parents and grandparents were young and to write about this ever evolving county is truly special for her.