Saturday, November 21st

On Saturday, November 21st, OSF Saint Francis Foundation will host the second annual Spirit of Hope Concert to benefit its Radiation Oncology program. “Cancer seems to be at epidemic levels in this community,” notes Terry Best, who serves on the board for the Children’s Hospital of Illinois. “Baby boomers are aging and this disease is affecting everyone. We all have someone close who has been or will be diagnosed.”

This one-of-a-kind event was set into motion when Dr. Jim McGee contacted John McDermott to sing at his daughter’s wedding after becoming a fan of the internationally-known Irish tenor. McDermott agreed, and while in Peoria, he heard about the work of the Radiation Oncology program at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and offered to take part in last year’s benefit concert. After its success, OSF Saint Francis wishes to continue its efforts to further educate the community and purchase much-needed equipment.

“We are so fortunate to have Dr. McGee and his team here at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center,” Best continued. “We must support this concert so that these experts can continue to treat cancer patients with state-of-the-art equipment and increase the survival rate. This wonderful, unique fundraiser will indeed embrace the ‘spirit of hope’ for cancer.”

A 3:15pm musical prelude will take place prior to the 4pm mass service at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, which is open to the public. The concert begins at 8pm at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Peoria Heights, featuring McDermott and special guests Mark O’Connor, violinist and fiddler; The Mistletones, an eight-man a cappella group; and the Anima Children’s Choir of Greater Chicago.

Meet-and-Greet festivities will follow the concert, and guests can meet the musicians and mingle over dessert and drinks. General admission seats are $50, and Meet-and-Greet tickets, which include the concert ticket, are $150. For more information, call the OSF Saint Francis Foundation at (309) 566-5666 or visit spiritofhopeconcert.org. a&s

Read more about John McDermott and the origins of the Spirit of Hope Concert at peoriamagazines.com/as/2008/sep-oct.