Voices for Hope is hosting its first fundraising concert April 14 in memory of the late Paul Wehling (above).
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April 06, 2012Family and friends of the late Paul Wehling are banding together in an effort to raise awareness and funds for head and neck cancer research.
Wehling, a lifelong Webster Groves resident until a job transfer took him and his family to Colorado in 2004, died in January 2011 at the age of 56 after battling throat cancer.
To honor Wehling, his family and friends have created a non-profit organization called Voices for Hope, which is holding the first Paul Wehling Memorial Concert to benefit head and neck cancer research on Saturday, April 14, 7 to 10 p.m., at Schroer Commons at Eden Seminary in Webster Groves, 470 E. Lockwood Ave. The evening will include light hors d'oeuvres and desserts, wine, a cash bar, silent auction and prizes. Tickets are $25 or $50 for VIP tickets, which include two drink coupons, dessert and a V.I.P. listing on the Voices for Hope website.
Nationally acclaimed artist Javier Mendoza will headline the evening with his artful blend of Latin, pop and rock music. The concert also will feature performances by Wehling's family, friends, and other local folk and jazz musicians who shared his love of music.
A musical tribute is only fitting for the man who loved to sing and play guitar. Next to his family, music was his passion - and he loved sharing it with others.
"He enjoyed playing - there's no doubt about that," his daughter Beth (Wehling) Slaboda of Colorado said. "What he really loved was playing with people. It was the community of musicians that drew him in more than the music itself."
Although throat cancer may have taken Wehling's voice, his family and friends are speaking up.
"We are voices against head and neck cancer. We are voices for cancer research. We are voices for those who can no longer speak. We are Voices for Hope," said Slaboda, who will be shaving her head the day before the concert to raise additional funds.
Voices for Hope is dedicated to funding innovative cancer research that will improve the quality of patient therapies, diminish suffering and lead to a cure for head and neck cancer. Funds raised are tax deductible and will support groundbreaking research for head and neck cancer at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, where Wehling was treated by doctors Antonio Jimeno and David Raben.
The Wehlings and their friends are grateful to the doctors not only for giving Paul Wehling the best treatment possible, but for their continued support after his death when his wife, Karen Wehling, was diagnosed with cancer a few months later.
"These guys clearly cared on a very personal level," said Tom Knecht, one of Wehling's best friends. "The study is a treatment that shows great promise while putting significantly less stress on the patient. If you know anyone who's gone through cancer treatment, you have a small glimpse of the hell treatment can put you through. Doctors Jimeno and Raben are working very hard to put the words cure and humane in the same sentence."
Beyond raising funds and creating awareness, the memorial concert is about remembering and honoring Wehling.
"As Dr. Jimeno said, those of us who knew Paul will always remember him, so this fundraising is not a memorial, it is done to honor him," Karen Wehling said.
Slaboda takes comfort in knowing that her dad's memory is alive in those who knew him.
"He will live on in the lives of those he has touched, of which there are many," she said.
To purchase tickets for the Paul Wehling Memorial Concert or to make a donation to Voices for Hope, visit www.blacktie-missouri.com or call 303-239-3335. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.