-Musician: The Karen Chandler Band
Early in 1998 Karen Chandler was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news was devastating. Karen was one who regularly had mammograms and in fact had one within the year of discovering a lump. She immediately had a radical mastectomy. Her will power was incredible.
Karen was a very special lady!
As a struggling single mother of two, she maintained an incredible passion for life, music and other people. Even when breast cancer crept into her world, she still managed to somehow put others first...always assuring them that she was okay...and making an effort to help them smile.
When the disease prevented her from working; the bills began to rise, the nasty phone calls from creditors became a regular intrusion, and it looked as though Karen and her children were about to lose even the sense of stability that their home could provide. Word of her dilemma began to seep out into the community and in 1998, as means to help Karen with her financial obligations, the first Karen Chandler Benefit was organized.
Karen was a local musician and performed at many local clubs. She regularly performed at 'Our Place'. Steve Woolridge, the owner of Our Place, immediately rallied the local musicians and within 7 days of Karen's surgery the first Karen Chandler Benefit was held to assist in her finances while she recovered. Believe it or not Karen showed up at the benefit and even performed one song.
The next few months were very difficult for Karen. She was very sick from the chemo and radiation. By early summer she was performing on a limited basis and everyone came out to welcome her back - bands and friends alike. By fall she was performing fairly often around town.
During this time she was constantly being checked and monitored, including the occasional bone scan. On April 15, 1999, Karen found out the cancer was back. She immediatley started back on chemo and radiation. Two weeks later the second benefit was held. Once again the local musicians pulled together to lend a hand. Karen did make it back to perform a few times after this benefit, but very few.
Karen passed away on August 4, 1999.
After Karen's death, the family wanted to do something in her memory to help all cancer victims and their families during the period of rehabilitation. There was a need that could be filled that wasn't being met at the time. Together, an "Immediate Response Team" was formed. If someone with cancer needs a power bill paid, to avoid interruption, we can help immediatley. We can serve any need the person has, from transportation to having cars repaired, paying mortgages and car insurance to providing Christmas gifts for their children. What ever is needed we can respond immediately. We are a small group of volunteers who have all been touched in some way by a family member having cancer and even in some cases by having had and survived cancer. We really believe in what we're doing and are very proud of the fact that everyone who works with the Karen Chandler Foundation does so without being paid in any way other than the satisfaction of helping someone else. Having taken the foundation forward, we have become a non-profit organization and since have become: "The Karen Chandler Trust Fund".
Karen's family and friends decided to use the balance left in the benefit fund to establish a trust in her name. The fund is to be used to financially assist needy cancer patients and their immediate families as they continue to wage their battle with cancer.