Cure 4 Cancer Concerts - Kim Croteau

MaineList Article: Kim Croteau - Cure 4 Cancer Concerts

Kim Croteau for Cure 4 Cancer Concerts!Kim Croteau, or “Kimmer” as her friends often say, is a resident of Standish, Maine, who has really started to help make a difference. After losing her mother to cancer back in January of 2006, she began to formulate ideas on how she could incorporate her lifestyle to help raise funds for cancer awareness while helping victims and their families through the painful process of this often terminal illness. Her quest has been an ongoing adventure as she’s cleverly put together what will hopefully one day become a federally recognized foundation to support those affected by this awful disease.

“When my mom was diagnosed, I wanted to do something to help, but wasn’t quite ready due to the heavy load of responsibilities.” Kim referred to the time, energy and compassion that was required while dealing with her mother’s cancer.

“No matter how sick my mom was, she always wanted to help other people.” Kim’s fond memories of her mother’s ambition to help other people, even while dealing with her own state of illness, could have been a strong motivational factor in taking on the challenge of constructing a foundation to help other cancer victims.

Gary from Strict9I met up with Kimmer tonight, during her “Cure 4 Cancer Concert” featuring the local hard rock band “Strict9”. We met in a heavily populated room at “Thatcher’s” in South Portland while the band was still setting up to perform.

I have actually known Kim for a little more than a year. Our common bond developed when we learned that we both lost our mothers recently to cancer. I have seen her at a variety of shows and have always known her to be a fun, flirty gal, usually out with her husband Joe, and their close network of friends and family. Kim seems to liven up any room with her fun-loving ambiance.

“My mom was the kind of person who you could always count on.”

Remembering Her MomIt’s clear to see Kim’s close ties with family and friends, and having gone through similar tragedies in my own life, I don’t have to imagine how difficult it is to lose your mother to a fatal illness. “My mom was my best friend.” Kim stated, further emphasizing her loss. I could identify wholeheartedly, as my mother was also my best friend.

“We did everything together. We went shopping all the time… We went to the beach with the kids..” Kim continued. “My mom was the kind of person who you could always count on.”

Her mother, Anna Leavitt Teele, would certainly be proud to know that three of her daughters; Lynn Binette, Tricia Teele and Kim Croteau are currently working towards establishing the “Anna Leavitt Teele Cancer Foundation” which they hope to erect by 2009. In the meantime, Kim has been organizing a series of fund raiser concerts which she calls the Cure 4 Cancer Concerts.

Cure 4 Cancer ConcertsNearly a year after her mother passed away, Kim had begun putting ideas together. With initial plots that started in November of 2006, it wouldn’t be until June of 2007 that Kim would organize her first event.

“The first show was a learning experience for me. But things really began to materialize after that.” That first show featured DJ Limey and my own solo performance; Billy McDaniel Hard Rock Acoustic. The show took place in Sanford at “Club Adrenaline”, and although the concert failed to produce funds, it did provide a good learning canvas for Kimmer as she began to plot some new strategies.

In October of 2007, the Maine-based cover band; “Riot Act” performed for Kim’s first successful Cure 4 Cancer Concerts benefit gig. The event was held at “Memory Lane” which ended up being a sold out show. “That was our biggest one so far!” Kim noted. Possibly due to her being an active supporter of Riot Act and already knowing many of the friends and fans who regularly attend their gigs.

Gary from Strict9Bands like Riot Act and Strict9 already have a fairly solid booking schedule, and aren’t really starving for publicity. “Its awesome that these bands are willing to donate their time and talents for a worthy cause.” Kim gratefully resolved.

I spoke with Gary, the front-man, vocalist of Strict9 during tonight’s event and asked him why he elected to get involved with this charity.

“It’s a humanitarian thing. We’re glad to help out, and believe this to be an excellent cause.” Gary explained. “We actually missed the chance last year when Kimmer asked us cuz we were booked solid.”

Since Strict9 recently came back into the booking scene from a short break while auditioning a new bassist, the timing was perfect to get involved this year. And their performance was outstanding.

Strict9 with new bassist

Kim has tried to remain open-minded while selecting bands to perform for these events, so she invited three original Maine bands to perform during the next concert. Three bands; “DOUR”, “FAIL”, and “The Girth” became the charity of that event which took place in February of 2008 at “Thatcher’s” in South Portland.

“This was another learning experience.” Once again, Kim came to understand the importance of booking certain types of bands in certain types of places. “All three bands were very good, I really enjoyed the show.” It seems if Kim had known then what she’s learned as a result of constructing this event, she might have planned to book the bands somewhere else instead.

In March of 2008, Cure 4 Cancer Concerts had another successful show at “Champion’s Sports Bar” in Biddeford with “Damaged Goods”. “Our next concert will feature “DJ Dubs” and “The Coyote Ugly Girls” in May.” Kim expressed with delightful ambition.

Camp SunshineSo up till now, we know why she’s doing this, and through what resources she’s chosen to raise funds, but now I had to ask. “Who will benefit from the proceeds of these concerts? Where does the money go?”

Her primary charity of choice has been “Camp Sunshine” with it’s hopeful slogan; “Let the sun shine all year.” Camp Sunshine is a year-round retreat in Casco Maine, for children suffering from life-threatening illnesses with programs for both the child and family. The camp was given the “Eleanor Eells Award” for Program Excellence by the American Camping Association.

“Fifty percent of our earnings will always go to Camp Sunshine, the other half goes to another charity which can change each time we have a concert.” Kim explained. “One family would need a donation of $1,500.00 to fully accommodate a one week experience, including room and board, events, and so on.”

T-Shirts Help Raise Awareness

There’s a few different methods that Kim employs for generating money through her events.

T-shirts and merchandise can be purchased, which sports the C4CC logo. This allows people to help show their support, while also raising awareness of the event and keep people aware of what these concerts are really for.

There’s also a bucket, where guests can drop in anonymous donations and an optional cover charge to directly benefit the cause.

“Many of my friends also help support what I’m doing in various ways too.” Kim conveyed, explaining some of the duties that her friends have accepted without hesitation, such as donating their time to sell raffle tickets, man the door, help sell T-shirts and merchandise, and so on.

Image Pro Screen Print & Design“Boo, from “Image Pro Screen Print and Design” designed our logo.” Kim used the nickname “Boo” in reference to Brian Stearns out of Waterboro. “He has sometimes done our shirts with only a few days notice. He does it to help, and doesn’t make money off of it.” Kim, again, expressing the many different ways where people are helping out, including even the entertainers who are doing their part by performing free of charge!

“If you just show up and watch a band, you still haven’t really become aware of the charity that surrounds the event.” Kim tries hard to create an image for her events by encouraging friends, family and fans of the bands to wear their C4CC T-shirts during the show. “We’re trying to create an image for awareness. Hot chics wearing our T-shirts is just one way we try to shout out that message.”

Port City Photography “Port City Photography” helps out a lot by donating fliers or graphic banners which are used to promote the shows. They also generously donate their time at the event where they setup a unique party booth to further entertain guests during the show.

This booth is custom made by Port City Photography at their own expense, and used to capture photography of guests who attend the shows. It’s sort of a side show, where the band is performing on stage, with a cool photo experience off to the side.

The prints of a photo can be purchased for a small fee with all of the necessary equipment available on sight. Port City Photography also posts the images on their myspace for anyone to enjoy.

A few days before the concert, I checked into the C4CC myspace page, and was delighted to discover a fairly large assortment of supporting friends who had replaced their default photo with the graphical banner that Kim was using to promote the show. “Myspace has been very helpful in promoting these events.” Said Kim.

I asked a number of people throughout the night if they were aware that this was a charity gig for cancer. I was fairly alarmed that despite the numerous T-shirts, signs, and chatter, that many folks were still unaware of what the show was really all about.

“It’s Kim’s own intensity that perks my interest the most!”

Ed Larrivee & Gayle BolducA friend of mine from grade school, “Ed Larrivee” and his girlfriend “Gayle Bolduc” took a few minutes to explain how they ended up finding out about the event. “We find out where the shows are through Kim’s myspace.” Reported Ed, who hasn’t missed a single show since she started these concerts.

I was both surprised and delighted to see Ed at the very first concert that Kim held, which I, myself, had performed at. I wondered how he knew I was performing there at all. He explained that he knew about it through Kim, and saw my name on the poster, and thought it would be cool to see a childhood friend performing while doing something fun that would benefit a worthy cause.

“It’s Kim’s own intensity on helping others that perks my interest the most.” So, Ed and Gayle have remained loyal by looking for and attending each show as they are announced.

It’s great to see how one person’s driving ambition can produce results to bring some positive energy back into the World. I am truly amazed at how far she’s come in such a short time. I have tried to visualize the summit of her ambition, and the difference that she could eventually make, given enough time and support from those who are there to make a difference.


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