Samantha Scher & Alixandra Macmillan-Fiedel

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.

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