Grand County: Craigy T Fund helps promising youth musicians |

Grand County: Craigy T Fund helps promising youth musicians

by Joy McCoy
Special to the Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado

At the young age of 15, Max Stohr is struggling to survive his fight with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the immune system.

He is managing his last stages of chemotherapy and is connecting to friends who brought him to the attention of the Grand County Blues Society (GCBS). This led him to be one of the most recent recipients of Blue Star Connection (BSC), a program initiated in 2006 to rally children like Max into playing an instrument, rather than being consumed with their fight to be healthy.

With the goal of bringing the gift of music to children fighting cancer and other life threatening illnesses, BSC has joined adults and children to their instruments of choice. Approximately 25 people from around the country have received donations of guitars, saxophones, basses, and in Max’s case, four high-quality harmonicas, through BSC. The program has traveled as far as India, where a young lady (sadly deceased now) excitedly received her first electric guitar.

The GCBS was able to purchase Max’s harmonicas through a generous local contribution from the Craigy-T Fund. The fund was originally created in 2007 through a concert event called Craigstock. It was planned to help Craig Thomason, a local musician, receive treatment for skin cancer, a battle that he quickly lost before the event date.

Funds given at Craigstock through community support are currently being distributed. Support from the fund was built by the Grand County community, along with friends and family who loved Craig, and we are now able to witness the sweet harmony created from it, not only for the GCBS (which received $5,000 for BSC), but also for Craig’s family, a local individual fighting cancer, The Shining Stars, The Kohl Foundation and Courageous Kids.

The Shining Stars, an outreach organization that brings children and families together who are fighting illness, will receive $5,000 at the GCBS’s Tab Benoit concert this Sunday (a drive benefiting local food banks). The Kohl Foundation, which helps locals in need, will receive back the $1,500 given to Craig when first diagnosed with cancer. Courageous Kids, a center in Kentucky for children fighting cancer, received $2,000 in October for their music room, built in Craig’s honor with funds from Craigstock East in 2007.

There have been two Craigstock Easts in Kentucky and two Craigstock Wests in Colorado, one held in each state for 2007 and 2008. Craigstock West 2008 was just held Nov. 9 and guests couldn’t help but feel like they were at a family reunion. Fund organizers send out a big thank you to all who have given to the fund and have worked hard to try and bring good to the world in Craig’s honor.

Together, we have helped transform suffering into positive community change. Craig is smiling down knowing that his fire is still being fueled and music is still being played.

A Craigstock East and West will hopefully be scheduled every year around Craig’s birth/death day. To make a donation or for more information about these programs, call (970) 281-9519.

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