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Los Lonely Boys, The Calling Play Benefit
Christina Walsh Foundation
Christina is a total inspiration for getting this off the ground. Part of me wants to keep this going in her memory and so that my daughter has something to be proud of – knowing that this foundation was started in her (mother's) name. - Robert Walsh
by Josh Davidson
 [Chorus and Verse] Christina Walsh Foundation
Los Lonely Boys
Los Lonely Boys will be headlining a benefit concert
for the Christina S. Walsh Breast Cancer Foundation
at Brookdale Community College (Lincroft, NJ)

Los Lonely Boys and The Calling " two bands that have assaulted the national airwaves - look to raise money and awareness for as many organizations during a concert this month.

The show will begin at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Collins Arena of Brookdale Community College, 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, New Jersey.

Proceeds will go to the Christina S. Walsh Breast Cancer and Brookdale Foundations.

The Christina S. Walsh Breast Cancer Foundation was established on Oct. 1, in memory of its namesake, who died of cancer on Aug. 25 at the age of 32.

“Christina is a total inspiration for getting this off the ground,” said Robert Walsh, her husband. “Part of me wants to keep this going in her memory and so that my daughter has something to be proud of " knowing that this foundation was started in her (mother’s) name.”

The foundation looks to set up a fund at the cancer institutes of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s New Jersey locations in both New Brunswick and Hamilton and possibly the Princeton (NJ) Medical Center to provide money for families to use for meals or parking and provide donations to Hospice Programs.

Its goal is to establish an account to cover costs not paid for by insurance, which would also include items like a television or phone at the hospital or a family’s hotel bill. Walsh said he has experienced the hardship of trying to provide those things to his loved one, while worrying about remaining by her side at all times.

Christina Walsh was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2001. Despite numerous surgeries, radiation therapy, clinical trials and chemotherapy, doctors discovered that the cancer had spread to her lungs in September 2003.

“Her pain was excruciating, but she didn’t let it change anything about how it was affecting her life,” said Walsh, a probation officer in Middlesex County.

Nothing seemed to slow her down as she continued to work full-time as a learning disabilities consultant; even started her own chocolate gifts business called Country Kitchen Confections.

In May 2004, just before she was to go to Disney World for the first time with her daughter, Caitlin, 3, she experienced severe pain, which required surgery to her right lung. Christina was hospitalized for about one week and was unable to return to work for the first time since being diagnosed. Though she was on high levels of medication, she still gathered her strength and spent the next three weeks getting ready to leave for Florida on June 20, Walsh said.

“Disney World was a very special place to Christina,” he said. “The Disney museum and the movies have been a part of her life always and it was important that she experienced Disney World with her daughter.

“With only the capacity of one lung, she was doing everything she could just so our daughter could enjoy her first trip to Disney World,” he said.

But, in the early morning of June 25, Christina experienced acute pain and tremendous difficulty breathing. That day was to be the last day the family would spend at Disney World, as she was taken from her hotel room to a local hospital.

Christina’s condition became worse over the next two days. Doctors in Florida could not treat her and a private medical jet had to be arranged to fly her back to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Jersey so she could be evaluated by her own oncologist and have the rest of her family with her.

Though the insurance company would not pay the $11,000 bill for the flight, it wasn’t long before friends of the family volunteered their support to cover the costs, Walsh said.

She returned to New Jersey on June 28.

”She was in the hospital for three weeks and was released home on hospice care,” Walsh said.

During that time, she worried about how the cost to fly her home and how it would affect the expense to raise her daughter or mortgage payments, he said.

At that point, Walsh said, he explained to her how their friends and family came together to raise the money needed for the flight, and the two talked about how to return the favor. They decided to use the few hundred dollars left over from the air expense for another person in need of help.

“In the two-and-a-half years that she dealt with this, she was concerned how it affected everybody else,” Walsh said. “We used that as a springboard for the foundation.”

While Christina’s insurance provided excellent coverage up until the point of the need for air transportation, many patients face the battle of getting their providers to pay a number of costs incurred while being treated, Walsh said.

Christina began her career as a special education teacher in Franklin Township. After six years there, she spent a year as a learning disabilities consultant. She held the same title for another two years in Lawrence Township. “She was working full-time from the day she was diagnosed until May, when she had the final surgery and she was continuously having surgeries and was always on chemotherapy,” Walsh said. “And, on top of that, she took care of our daughter and our house.”

Many people became inspired by how she handled herself while suffering from the illness, he said.

“Just the cards and letters she received from people were incredible, because she was always taking the time to make sure everybody else was OK,” he said. “At school, she didn’t want the kids to miss out on any resources they deserved, so she went to work every day.”

The concert will be the first event in the Foundation’s name.

“In using her name, we know what we want to do with the money, but we also want to use her name to make young people aware,” Walsh said.

Many people believe the misconception that breast cancer only strikes the elderly, “but the truth is young women get it and when you get the disease at a young age, it is much more aggressive " and there is no cure for breast cancer.”

He said women should immediately respond when their bodies show signs of illness, “because, in Christina’s case, every time she thought something was wrong, she was correct.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation or become involved with the foundation can write the Christina S. Walsh Breast Cancer Foundation, 18 Buxton Drive, East Windsor, New Jersey 08520.

Walsh looks to expand the foundation through different events and fundraisers. The money at some point may also go to research and a scholarship in Christina Walsh’s name. He also hopes to send another family of a breast cancer patient to Disney World.

All of the concert’s seats are general admission and doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 and on sale now at www.ticketweb.com, by phone at (866) 468-7619, at Brookdale’s student activities desk or at Jack’s Music in Red Bank, NJ.

Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.
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