Co-workers organize concert to support friend’s cancer treatment.
Nearly 100 people attended the Love Heals benefit concert at Gospel Community Church Nov. 11, raising $1,200 in financial support for Liberty University alumna Jessie Fabling’s breast cancer treatment.
Courtney Green and Ezra Valencia came up with the idea for the Love Heals benefit concert a few days before Halloween while working a closing wait shift together at RA Bistro in downtown Lynchburg.
“Literally God has done all of it,” Valencia said. “In such a short time, we (had) a space, music, volunteers—it’s been incredible to watch. We stepped out in faith and God (did) the rest.”
Fabling, a good friend of Green and Valencia, was diagnosed with breast cancer Aug. 3, 2017.
Rather than taking the traditional route of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Fabling has pursued alternative treatment at the Hope4Cancer Institute in Cancún, Mexico.
Green, Valencia and Fabling met each other through working at RA Bistro. Although Fabling moved to Richmond after finishing graduate school at Liberty, the friendship has continued.
Valencia said that Fabling’s influence on Green had a significant impact on his own spiritual life.
“I met Courtney, and her life had been really impacted by Jessie,” Valencia said. “That influence from Jessie has been a huge part of my testimony. I’m going to church, I’m seeking Christian community because Jessie influenced Courtney, (and) Courtney influenced me. It’s the way it works.”
Green and Valencia, along with another friend, Joselyn Perez, planned the Love Heals event in a matter of three weeks. Green and Valencia focused mainly on the big picture, while Perez worked out all of the event’s details.
The friends intended the fundraising evening to also be an experience of love and community.
Local musicians Emily Brophy and Joshua Sosin, and local bands Strangers, Oceanic and ANX all performed at the event.
“I think it’s such a cool idea to get young bands like ANX or Oceanic who can bring in young people who look up to them, and then pair it with a story like Jessie’s story,” Valencia said. “It’s not overtly church, it’s not overtly Christian. It’s just telling our generation, ‘You can be loved where you’re at.’”
As more people heard Fabling’s story, they were eager to contribute their talents and resources to the evening.
“Gathering a group of people to surround Jessie with love and support (is) such a beautiful thing,” Cat Rohr, who performed alongside Joshua Sosin during the event, said. “It’s a great representation of the body of Christ hurting with and loving on a member.”
Nathan Wyatt, Oceanic’s frontman, said that the band was glad for the opportunity to use their music to serve a bigger purpose.
“When we were asked to play at Love Heals, we were incredibly excited to have a concert for a good cause—it’s what we’ve always wanted to do with our music,”Wyatt said. “We’re fascinated by the way music brings people together, but it’s a very special thing when music brings people together to bless people.”
The cover charge for the evening was $5 per person. T-shirts designed by Green were sold for $15 and bracelets were sold for $1. Friends provided food and drinks which were sold throughout the evening.
All of the money went toward Fabling’s treatment.
During the event, Fabling shared her testimony regarding her cancer diagnosis and trust in the Lord despite the challenges she has faced.
At one point during Strangers’ performance, attendees wrote their personal struggles on notecards to be anonymously shared in the hopes that someone else with a similar struggle would know that they are not alone.
Fabling hopes that the impact of Love Heals will ultimately extend beyond Sunday’s night of fundraising. Valencia said that Fabling’s testimony is an encouragement to him in each day of living out his faith.
“Some days I struggle just to put one foot in front of the other, and I don’t have cancer,” Valencia said. “… If I was told my future wasn’t certain for the next year, would I have motivation to do what I’m doing now?But then I meet someone like Jessie and see that her faith is driving her to have that motivation to do her best. And I don’t have to have cancer to be influenced by that.”
Donations can be made toward Fabling’s treatment through Go Fund Me.