In 2009, at the age of three, Lana Turner was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Lana’s dad, Brit, is the drummer of the popular rock band Blackberry Smoke. Thankfully, Lana got through treatment and is doing great today. But Brit and the band wanted to ensure all children with cancer have a chance to grow up and live life like Lana is doing, so they started donating money raised for fan meet-and-greet packages to childhood cancer organizations. Since then, the band has raised more than $700,000 to fight childhood cancer.
“As a band, we have always tried to lend a hand anytime we were able,” Brit said. “But it wasn’t until Lana was diagnosed that I felt it from the other side. This was the first time I felt like I was completely helpless, and I made a promise to help people going through the same thing.”
While much of the funding generated by the Lana Turner Foundation has been allocated towards pediatric cancer research, Brit and the band recently celebrated the first anniversary of partnering with CURE to provide meals to children with cancer and their families through our Open Arms Program.
“We know that a hot meal can make a big difference on a difficult day for children fighting cancer and their families,” shared Brit. “We also wanted to ensure that we provided a healthy meal for them because some people might not have that option.”
The band recently celebrated its 21st year of making music together. To celebrate the fact that the band was over drinking age, they worked with New Realm Brewery to create a beer for their fans. Blackberry Smoke American Lager was the award-winning creation. But the team is also collaborating to provide healthy food. New Realm is also a restaurant, and the chef creates a high-quality, organic menu for the patients and their families every month.
To get the food to the hospital, the band tapped the local VFW chapter and the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, who deliver the meals in style.
“It makes us feel good to do specific things to help families in crisis,” said Brit.
And it means a lot to the families served and is a much bigger thing than most people would think, as one mother expressed recently.
“Thank you so much for the nice meal. In the outside world, we have access to anything and take it for granted. But it can get quite lonely, and eating the same hospital food every day is tough. There are some days when we just won’t eat because it’s so tough. But you bring a smile to families in here when you serve.”
For more information about Open Arms Meals, click below.