For one night, friends, family and supporters of 5-year-old Ian Pomeroy will be able to emit tears caused by laughter, rather than tears caused by pain.
On Friday, April 6, the new auditorium at Caro High School will play host to the fundraiser Comedy 4 Cancer, with all proceeds going to Ian’s family to help with medical expenses.
Comedy 4 Cancer features three comedians – Dan Simon, Khurum Sheikh and headliner Steve Lind. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
In October, Ian’s parents, Steven and Embery Pomeroy, of Caro, saw their worst fears realized when doctors told them that Ian had an inoperable tumor on his brain stem. Since then, the Caro McComb Elementary School kindergarten student has gone through a brutal treatment regimen.
After several weeks of radiation treatment at University of Michigan Medical Center, in Ann Arbor, Ian’s parents gave the OK for the hospital to treat him with an experimental therapy, called XL184.
“I spoke to (Embery), the new (therapy) has only been used about 100 times,” said Sheila Savage, a spokesperson and friend to the Pomeroy family. “Radiation was pretty rough on him, he was unable to walk for quite some time. He just recently started walking on his own again.”
Ian began the new treatment in January, shortly after returning from a Make-A-Wish Foundation-sponsored trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Although the new medication is causing some negative side effects on Ian, such as mood changes, physically the youngster is beginning to look more and more like his old self thanks to losing the weight he gained from steroid treatment.
The “I Stand with Ian” Facebook page has over 1,500 followers, and updates concerned community members of Ian’s progress. A post from Sunday, March 4 states “Ian was looking in the mirror and said, ‘Mom my cheeks are going down, I’m almost back to old Ian.’”
In November, Ian was given a terminal prognosis of 18 months.
Metro Detroit resident JD Marshall is co-founder and president of Comedy 4 Cancer. He told The Advertiser that this will be the first show performed outside of the Detroit area.
“This is kind of out of our wheelhouse, we usually don’t go on the road so this is a whole new ball game,” Marshall said. “I said ‘If you can find a building, I can bring the comedians, do the printing and we can bring the show out there.’” Marshall learned of Ian’s situation through social media.
“My wife’s family lives near Caro, and they were sharing a television story (about Ian),” Marshall said. “I saw the video and then started reading the stories about how they were going from Ann Arbor for treatment. So I reached out to his aunt and brought the idea to her.”
Marshall co-founded Comedy 4 Cancer with daughter Stephanie after she was diagnosed with cancer in December 2013. Doctors told Marshal his daughter likely had a year or more to live. But Stephanie passed away in April 2014 at age 13.
Since, it has been Marshall’s mission to help children battling cancer.
“It’s rewarding, but it’s also very heartbreaking,” he said. “Obviously if we’re helping, it’s a bad situation.”
Besides running live comedy shows. Marshall is also in charge of a 501(c)3 charity called A mission of Love, which he started as a website with Stephanie after she was diagnosed.
Ian’s family is presently looking for donations that will be used to fill raffle gift baskets which will be given away at the show. There will also be a 50/50 raffle.
Headliner Steve Lind is a regular performer for Comedy 4 Cancer. Lind has opened for famed comics such as Tim Allen and Kathleen Madigan and offers a unique – and funny – perspective as a husband and father of four boys.
According to his bio, Dan Simon “delivers a quick-wit, fast-paced style of comedy that keeps rolling with laughter.” Simon is a past finalist in the Miller Lite Comedy Search.
Khurum Sheikh will act as the show’s emcee. A 25-year veteran of the Ann Arbor Police Department now performs comedy all over the country.
Marshall said the show will be appropriate for guests ages 13-and-older.
To purchase tickets, call or text Savage at 989-553-0706.