Balsam Range benefit concert is Sunday

Proceeds to benefit two Clyde Elementary students with cancer
By Mary Ann Enloe and Caroline Klapper | Apr 23, 2013
Photo by: Donated photo Clyde Elementary 3rd-grader Howell Brown III was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year.

Haywood County's award-winning bluegrass-and-more band Balsam Range will be onstage 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at Haywood Community College to help two Clyde Elementary School students in their fight with cancer.

Third-grader Howell Brown III's parents Howell Jr. and Susan won't be there, but they want everybody to know how much they appreciate what the community is doing for their son.

"We're on our way to Duke right now," said Howell Jr. late Sunday afternoon from his vehicle.  "We'll be staying at the Ronald McDonald House. But we want people to know we thank them more than we can say for what they're doing for us."

That stay at Duke will last about four months while Howell III undergoes chemotherapy and other procedures to be followed by the re-implanting of stem cells removed from his brain.  The youngster was recently diagnosed at Stage IV of an extremely rare and aggressive cancer, pineoblastoma. It is not known whether the procedure will help.

"There's only about 20 cases of this in the country," said Howell Jr.

Howell III's dad farms, and he said this time of year is proving to be particularly hard on him.  "Everybody's out on their tractors, and my boy is always with me. We're always together."

Carter Green is a kindergartener at Clyde Elementary, and he is receiving long-term chemotherapy for leukemia.

Green was diagnosed in September of 2012, and he hasn’t been back to school since then. However, the school has not forgotten the 6-year-old boy in its fundraising efforts.

“We wanted to do this simply because we know that times are tough for everyone and especially in a situation like this when it’s a complete unknown for these children,” said Clyde Elementary Principal Pam Justice. “They are part of us. They are part of our Clyde family.”

Carter’s mother, Robin McCarter, a single mom, said she is deeply grateful for the help the school is offering.

“It was kind of a surprise. It was an awesome thing,” she said. “I was incredibly grateful. This is just such a humbling feeling, and the school has been great in general.”

Carter’s prognosis is looking good, and he is already in remission, but to keep the cancer from returning, chemotherapy treatments will continue once a week through 2015.

It’s a long journey for a little boy, but McCarter said he is doing well.

“It’s up and down. It comes in cycles. It just depends on the type of chemotherapy he’s on, but for the most part, he’s just like every other little boy with a ton of energy,” she said.

McCarter will be at the benefit concert and said she’d like to thank everyone, including the school and Balsam Range, for helping her family.

“This is such a blessing,” she said.

Balsam Range and Haywood Community College are reaching out to the community to ask for help for these families. Tickets for the benefit are $15 adults, $10 ages 5 - 12, and age 5 and under free, and are available at Clyde Elementary School, Home Trust Bank in Clyde, and at the Waynesville and Canton offices of Champion Credit Union. For more information call 627-2821.

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