Had Kaci Johnson’s 6-year-old son, Duncan, been born a decade earlier, his prognosis would have been grim.
When Duncan was 3, he was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer.
“Ten years later, because of research, it’s the best-case scenario,” said Johnson, whose son is now a healthy first-grader at Episcopal Day School. Duncan also plays flag football and soccer.
Johnson believes in the importance of funding research and raising awareness of pediatric cancer. She also stands behind The 12 Bands of Christmas, which helps with both of those.
“The 12 Bands of Christmas is a 501(c)3 organization with a mission of combining the universal appeal of music with the universal spirit of giving to fight childhood cancer,” said Joe Stevenson, who is the 12 Bands director.
The organization started with a Christmas concert in 2001, and then a compilation CD was added in 2003.
“It just evolved from there,” he said.
12 BANDS/12 KIDS is another part of The 12 Bands of Christmas. It pairs a child with an artist, who then shares the child’s stories through concerts and Web pages to build awareness.
In addition, there is a 12 Bands/12 Kids raffle, which features items such as a fiddle signed by Charlie Daniels, an acoustic guitar signed by members of Hootie and the Blowfish and an acoustic guitar signed by members of the Eagles.
Duncan is also part of the 12 Bands/12 Kids campaign. He was paired with country musician Daniels, who Duncan refers to as “the old man in the hat.” The family was able to meet Daniels.
“It was very exciting,” his mom said. “We got to go in his tour bus. He’s very gracious and generous.”
The 12 Bands of Christmas’ signature concert will be Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Imperial Theatre, with each act performing for 15 minutes.
Preparation for this year’s concert began in the spring when bands submitted original Christmas songs in order to obtain a slot in the lineup. Some bands were familiar to Stevenson, but there were a few he’d never heard of before their submission.
One of the new bands is Five’s A Crowd, a jazz punk band with members Patrick Reagan, Pen Chance and Luke Amerson. Debuting with the band at the Dec. 18 concert will be Tim Fogle.
“It’s for a great cause,” said Chance, the band’s drummer. “We always wanted to write a Christmas song.”
Infused with island rhythms, Five’s A Crowd’s Christmas song is called Christmas Love, and it’s about spending Christmas with the person you love.
Money from the concert and CD goes for research to find a cure for pediatric cancer. To learn more about The 12 Bands of Christmas, visit www.12bandsofchristmas.org.