Putting on the Voice
by Felicia M. Tomasko
Samantha Scher believes everyone can become part of something bigger than oneself; that everyone can make a difference, even if he/she is only one person, and even if he/she is only 17. Samantha began her current quest to make a difference more than a year ago when she cofounded with Alixandra Macmillan-Fiedel a club at Laguna Blanca to raise awareness of and money for the Scleroderma Research Foundation. Although scleroderma is not as well known as diseases like multiple sclerosis, it affects a significant number of people yearly: 300,000 in the U.S. alone. Scleroderma’s effects are systemic and devastating, causing the body’s connective tissue to harden.
Samantha was inspired to act after watching her mother struggle with the illness throughout her life. But rather than despair, Samantha inherited a legacy of hope. Even though Samantha’s mother, Sharon Monsky, was diagnosed with scleroderma — and only given two years to live — Sharon refused to give in. She lived for 18 years after being diagnosed in 1984; had three children; and founded the Scleroderma Research Foundation in 1986. And just as Sharon worked tirelessly to find a cure for the disease, her daughter Samantha is continuing the legacy. Last year, Samantha and Alixandra, a musician, came up with the idea of a concert to raise money for the organization.
Last summer’s Voices for a Cure concert raised more than $46,000 and all of the proceeds went to fund research into finding a cure. This year’s event will feature a number of musicians brought together by the young duo: Crosby Loggins, The Coral Sea, Holden, Alixandra Macmillan-Fiedel herself, and a special guest yet to be announced. Comedian Bob Saget will host the performance. The two girls rave about the bands, but the evening is about more than the music, or even the money it will raise. “It’s the process as much as the evening,” Samantha mused. And she hopes both the process and the evening will inspire others to make a difference, as well. “It’s inspiring to know that you’ve inspired people … it’s a momentum you start building.”
Samantha hopes the Voices concert will become an annual event, even though she’ll leave to study film at NYU next fall. Her sister Montana will help handle area arrangements while Samantha and Alixandra are away at school. And there will be more help still. Samantha and Alixandra may be the organizers, but they have a cadre of volunteers, including students. The event is an example of the community coming together for the benefit of all.
4·1·1 Voices for a Cure will take place at the Lobero Theatre on Saturday, June 24, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $32.50 or $92.50 for a VIP pass. Call the Lobero for tickets at 963-0761, or Samantha at 441-6111. Visit voicesforacure.org for more information.