FAYETTEVILLE — It is happening so fast.
While the month of February may feel like a distant memory to most, for the parents of 2-year-old Mira Reid Jones, February feels like the beginning to one of the longest and most painful days of their lives, and the two say they haven’t yet had a moment to process it.
“Everything has just been flying by,” said Mira’s father, Lumberton-based musician Jesse Jones. “ … For me, I am still in the middle of it, months later. It is still happening. It has been going by so quickly.”
In February Mira Reid’s parents learned that their youngest daughter had a spinal tumor that would require immediate surgery and possibly months of chemotherapy. This month, the family is fighting back the best way they know how — with music.
On Friday at 8 p.m., The Rock Shop Music Hall on Person Street will be holding the first in a semiannual fund-raising concert event called Rock Away Cancer. Attending the event will require an $8 donation. All proceeds will go toward helping the Jones’ family take care of their daughter’s medical bills.
Jesse Jones does not want to stop there.
“Well, I myself am a musician, I play in two bands at the moment, Drive and Drayton Road, and this event came from the music community wanting to do something to show their respects,” he said. “ … But I felt weird trying to put together a benefit for myself. I have done plenty of benefits for other people but it felt weird putting together something for my own gain. I started to communicate with people online who were going through this and realized that we could make this a regular event to help other families with children diagnosed with this disease, so I decided that I want to do this every six months and raise money for pediatric cancer patients.”
For Rock Shop owner Shawn Adkins, who has hosted countless charitable events in the past, the request was one he couldn’t say no to.
“I was talking to him and I understood where he was coming from with regards to having trouble asking for help,” Adkins said. “I am the kind of person who can’t really ask for help too — but just having a kid with cancer, I mean, I have had family members who has cancer — hell, every family in America there is someone battling cancer — it is the worse thing on Earth and he wanted to help other people with cancer. I knew we had to do this.”
Jesse Jones said that pediatric cancer is particularly egregious because it is hard to diagnose.
For the Jones family, discovering Mira Reid’s illness took longer than it might have had she been older.
“It started with her having pains, grabbing her legs at one time, and it was happening often enough that we took her to a few different doctors but they couldn’t give us any answers,” Jesse Jones said. “It was finally bad enough that we had to be persistent that we said it must be worse than what you are telling us. It was. It was far worse than we could have imagined.
“No one wants to think of the worse-case scenario right out of the gate, not when you are dealing with a child. We kind of had to fight tooth and nail to be taken serious. We came across a nurse who had just been keeping notes and she said she would try to get the doctors to run an MRI to see more in depth of what we got … Looking back, I think she sort of knew something was up.”
Besides Driven and Drayton Road, the two bands that Jesse Jones serves as guitarist for, other area bands performing at the event are Faith and Fiction, Aurora and Waking Tera. The event will also feature a raffle for a guitar donated by Jesse Jones’ favorite manufacturer, Paul Reed Smith guitars.
“They are a huge company and it is awesome that they actually reached back out to us to offer their help,” Jesse Jones said. “Mira Reid is actually named after one of their models. It was just very special that this huge company is donating a guitar. I guess it really humbles you to see these kids in bad situations.”