You can laugh the night away and help a Port Huron family with cancer during a Saturday night comedy show.
Comedy 4 Cancer will host a comedy night from 7-10 p.m. Saturday at the Citadel Stage, 609 Huron Ave., Port Huron.
Proceeds will be donated to Brady Ashworth and his family. Ashworth, 21, was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood, in July.
Ashworth’s mother, Kimberlee Mitchell, said the couple had to travel from Port Huron to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor one to three times a week, which took time off from work and cost them money in travel and hotel expenses.
Mitchell said Ashworth had a good prognosis if they found a match with a bone marrow donation. Once the family completes genetic testing to determine if her mother is a match, or if the family finds a better match, Ashworth can receive her bone marrow transplant.
After his transplant, Ashworth and Mitchell will need to stay in Ann Arbor for 100 days so he can recover from his surgery and stay near the hospital. Hotel stay and holidays will mean additional expenses for the family, she said.
Mitchell said travel costs, work time and extra items that health insurance doesn’t cover have caused financial strain on the family.
JD Marshall, founder of Comedy 4 Cancer and CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit Mission of Love, said families with childhood cancer often face financial burdens related to the cost of treatment, fees travel and vacation.
Comedy 4 Cancer raises money for families affected by cancer, who can use the funds for anything they need. Previous shows have paid for things as varied as medical bills, mortgage or car payments to keep a family from losing those necessities.
“It’s a good thing that we can help people, but at the same time, it’s sad that they actually need this,” Marshall said. “You shouldn’t worry about how you’re going to manage and how you’re going to pay bills when your child is basically fighting for their life.
Tickets for the show are $15 presale, $20 at the door, or $40 for a four-pack. To purchase tickets, visit comedie4cancer.com/port-huron/. There will also be gift basket raffles and a 50/50 raffle. Guests are welcome to bring their own alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.
The show will feature Billy Reno, Ron Rigby and Steve Hansen, rising stars of the Detroit comedy scene and part of the Lighten Up Comedy Show. Comedian Ronnie Rohrbeck will also host. Content is not suitable for minors and is recommended for ages 18 and older.
Marshall learned of Ashworth’s existence through mutual friends and contacted the family to do the show. Mitchell said the community support has been overwhelming.
“It’s amazing to see the support we’re getting from people,” Mitchell said.
Ashworth is strong, resilient and thinks of others before himself, his mother said. He enjoys playing video games on the Twitch streaming platform.
Read more about Comedy 4 Cancer, a mission of love
A Mission of Love, the original nonprofit that launched Comedy 4 Cancer, was created when Marshall’s teenage daughter Stephaine was going through her own battle with cancer.
The couple created a website to connect with other people living with cancer. The website has grown into a non-profit organization that raises awareness of childhood cancer and helps families affected by cancer with financial support and emotional support.
The Cancer 4 Comedy shows began after Stephaine died in 2015 at age 13 and were inspired by her love for stand-up comedy.
Stephane was a loving and caring person who laughed a lot and thought of others before herself, Marshall said. The non-profit continues Stephaine’s legacy by helping others and raising awareness about childhood cancer.
“She was my best friend who ended up being my hero and now, sadly, she’s my angel,” Marshall said.
A Mission of Love also offers “Best Day” awards to children with cancer. The idea was inspired after the last conversation Stephaine had with her father, when she said the happiest day of her life was meeting comedian Gabriel Iglesias. Children who receive the prize receive toys or gift cards to their favorite stores.
To donate to the nonprofit, nominate someone for the Best Day Award, apply for financial assistance, or learn more about A Mission of Love, go to amissionoflove.org/ .
Contact Laura Fitzgerald at (810) 941-7072 or [email protected]