Cancer fundraiser rocks the ’80s at State Theatre

bmilazzo@centredaily.comMarch 22, 2014 

— When Harry Morris, 41, of Winburne, was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund helped pay for some utility bills while he was hospitalized.

The fund helps raise money for eligible families in central Pennsylvania facing financial difficulties due to medical expenses. It helps cancer patients with basic necessities, said fund Director Norma Keller.

Founder Doreen Perks said that since the group’s inception in 2006, nearly 800 applications for funding have been filled.

On Saturday, the fund hosted a reception at Cafe 210 West, followed by a “Rock the ’80s” concert at The State Theatre.

With nearly 500 guests, the event’s goal this year was to raise $15,000. Last year, in its first year, it raised about $7,500.

Musicians including the JR Mangan Band, Long Afternoon, Mr. Hand, Tongue in Groove, Screwdriver Sally, Velveeta, The Insomniacs, Scott Mangene, Spider Kelly, Cone of Silence, and Brad Fey and the Feats of Strength were scheduled to rock the theater. Two rows of seats were removed so attendees could dance.

“People were out of their seats so much last year, we had to accommodate for a dancing space this year,” Keller said.

Some guests, including Perks, were clad in bright-colored ’80s attire.

The fund is named for Bob Perks, Doreen’s husband, who died in 2005 from cancer after battling the disease for more than two years, Keller said.

Bob Perks was a founding member of the local Coaches vs. Cancer organization and was invested in giving back to the community, as he was also a Penn State graduate and Nittany Lion fan.

Keller said the fund hosts numerous benefits throughout the year with main events that include the “Rock the ’80s” concert fundraiser in March and a football tailgate party held annually in the fall.

“It takes a lot of planning, but we have a volunteer committee committed to making the events the best possible,” Keller said.

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Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @M11azzo.

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