It was said over and over, "If love could cure cancer, it would have been cured in that room." That was the sentiment felt all around when Carly Jibson hosted a benefit for her mom, Renee Zimmerman, who has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Bone and Lung Cancer.
Upon receiving the news of her mom's diagnosis, Carly reached out to her closet friends for help and guidance. It was her friend, award winning composer/lyricist Scott Alan, who suggested they put together a benefit concert and four months later, "Cancer's Expensive!!! A Benefit for Renee Zimmerman" was unveiled.
The sold-out benefit at The Laurie Beechman Theatre featured a host of hugely talented performers. In addition to Scott and Carly, the line-up included Nick Adams ("Priscilla Queen of the Desert"), Eden Epsinosa ("Wicked" and "Brooklyn") and Brian Gallagher ("Jekyll and Hyde" revival), Jenna Leigh Green ("Wicked," "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch"), Molly Hager, Tony Award Nominee Chad Kimball ("Memphis"), Caissie Levy ("Hair" and "Ghost") and David Reiser ("Good Vibrations"), Michael Mendez ("Fat Camp" and "Chaplin"), Ben Cameron ("Broadway Sessions"), Susan Mosher ("Hairspray"), Leonard Sullivan ("Hairspray"), award winning vocalist Katie Thompson, and the cast of Off-Broadway's "Fat Camp." Everyone gave their all and performed such heartfelt songs! I was consistently overwhelmed by what I was witnessing!
Carly did an excellent job of hosting the evening, considering, all the emotions she must have been feeling! If the strength and love that Carly has was any indication, then it's quite evident what an amazing woman her mom must be! With her unique brand of humor, Carly made the evening really fun and relaxed. That spirit echoed throughout the night to every single person performing on that stage. If the performers above weren't enough, Carly also received an out-cry of support from those who donated items for the raffle including Ricki Lake, Perez Hilton, Bravo's "What What Happens Live," "Wicked," "Memphis," and Cutler Salon in Soho initially gave four free haircut and coloring gift certificates, but then they were so inspired by what was happening during the evening, they ended up giving every performer of the night a cut/color as well. Because Scott Alan is brilliant, in the middle of the raffle, Scott found a way to raise even more money by having an impromtu silent auction. The two items that were being auctioned off were a signed "Wicked" T-shirt by Caissie Levy, Megan Hilty, Eden Espinosa, and two international "Wicked" stars and the genius known as Susan Mosher wrote an on-the-spot song about one person's life, filmed for viewership on YouTube. I don't know the name of the guy, but we'll call him "Daddy Warbucks" spent over $1200 winning both silent autction items. Instead of having Susan write a song about him, he had her write a song about Scott Alan, which was perfect! I can't talk about this evening without mentioning the amazing generosity of The Laurie Beechman Theatre itself! Every single dollar from the ticket price went directly to helping Carly's mom. I have never been to a benefit where that has been the case. What a great place to host a benefit!
One of the things that impressed me most about the evening was the fact that many people at the event didn't even know Carly or Carly's mom that well, myself included. I attended because I was a fan of Carly's and the other performers and wanted to give what support I could to her and her mom. When my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2003, the amount of love and support I recevied from my friends really made a difference, so here was a way I could pass that support on.
When people come together out of love, it's amazing what can take place! "Cancer's Expensive!!! A Benefit for Renee Zimmerman" was a moment in time I'll remember forever, especially, when at the end Carly announced that her mom's diagnosis has be downgraded to Stage 3. So, things are really looking better for Renee. It was an evening of music, humor, but most of all, of love!
For those of you who couldn't make the benefit or would like to give even more, please visit http://www.giveforward.com/friendsofreneezimmerman