When a good local cause needs support, Gail Shirk is there to help.
Shirk, lead vocalist for Lehigh Valley rock group GailForce, has organized many benefits over the years, the latest for her friend Tammy Cologie. A Hanover Township resident, Cologie suffers from Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, lacking a protein necessary to protect her lungs, and it is a life-threatening condition. She struggles daily with shortness of breath, coughing, and exhaustion, Skirt said.
Cologie is currently on the waiting list for a double lung transplant at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, but the operation is costly and can bring about added expenses before and after surgery that are not covered by insurance.
“This is a financial burden for her and her family. This is why I am doing this benefit. After talking and meeting Tammy, I knew this is what I had to do to help,” Shirk said of the benefit she put together for Sunday, Oct. 27 at Ole Tyme Charley’s (31 S. River St, Plains).
“We actually met through mutual friends… Even in her condition, she’s just so full of life. She doesn’t let anything knock her down.”
The benefit for HelpHopeLive in honor of Tammy will be held from 3-10 p.m. and features six bands: Diamond City Trio, Hat Tryk, Handsome Devils, Threatpoint, Chixy Dix, and Shirk’s own band, FireBlind Duo. There is a cash bar, and the kitchen will be open from 5-8 p.m. Todd Frye will provide sound and lighting and CLK Photography will be taking pictures of the event. Tickets are $10 at the door.
In addition to a Chinese auction, which features gifts from sponsors like Gerrity’s, Weis Markets, Price Chopper, Conflict Artistry, Dragon’s Den Tattoo Studio, Holier Than Thou Tattoo, and KJ’s Pickle Barrel, Joy Hardiman will have cash and carry table of Scentsy warmers and wax, donating 25 percent of sales to the cause, and Cologie will be selling her own cookbook. The Gift of Life donor program will also be present to answers any questions about organ donation.
Debit or credit card donations can be made at helphopelive.org by selecting Tammy’s name on the website and sending the money to her fund.
“I’m looking forward to having a really good turnout and helping Tammy out,” Shirk said.