When Allan Makowski Sr. of Kingston passed away in June of 2009 after a battle with lung cancer, his family decided there was much to do in order to not only honor his memory, but to help those around them that have been affected by cancer.
In 2011, Makowski's wife Pauline formed Breathe Deep NEPA, a grassroots fundraising committee for the Lungevity Foundation, the nation's leading nonprofit in the fight against lung cancer. This will be the third year the foundation will host a Walk and Fun Run in Kirby Park in June, but the first for a benefit concert that serves as the precursor for the big event.
“Breathe Deep & Jam Out!” is being headed by Pauline and Makowski's children, Stephanie and Allan Makowski Jr., and is a fitting event to put on in the name of Allan Sr.
“He was a really cool Renaissance guy,” Stephanie said of her late father, who she also called her best friend. “He played the trumpet, he liked to write poetry and paint, he was an avid hunter. He tried to tap into it all. Allan and I know how much he loved music, so we thought this would be a great event to honor him.”
The River Street Jazz Cafe concert will feature several local acts, including Back Mountain, Jennie Gold, Rich Partington, Paulsko, 20 Lb Head, Rob Brown, and Esta Coda.
The $8 door donation will go to the foundation, as well as money procured from the sale of t-shirts designed by Design Ink!, the company that also designed the poster for the event.
“We were trying to find a way to get involved, and we went with Lungevity because we truly believe what the organization is doing for cancer research,” Stephanie explained.
Stephanie said that people have many misconceptions about lung cancer, and another reason the family sticks with Lungevity is because they do their best to banish such stigma.
“The foundation has put out statistics that say 55 percent of all lung cancer diagnosed is actually not caused necessarily by smoking. Lung cancer also kills more people than the next four cancers combined: colorectal, breast, pancreatic, and prostate.”
Though Lungevity focuses on lung cancer, Stephanie said the event is for anyone who has been touched by or knows someone who has been touched by any type of cancer at all.
“My philosophy is that even if you weren't personally touched by lung cancer in particular, any involvement at all in trying to generate awareness and raise money for cancer research is important. If we can help get new developmental treatment and research for any type of cancer, it can be transferred over to the other types as well. It's just something that's going towards this big idea of cancer.”