Benefit for young cancer patient taking place Sunday

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Shannon and Amy Aldridge hope this weekend will be a grand homecoming for their 12-year-old daughter Sahara.

Since Aug. 1, Sahara has been at a hospital in Houston receiving treatment for a cancerous tumor on her brain stem. But if all goes well, she'll be home this weekend in time for a benefit concert in her name.

Teachers from Cape Central Middle School have organized a benefit concert for Sahara Sunday at Capaha Park. The concert, called "Hope for Hoops," will feature the Mike Renick Band and The Intention ("Hoops" is Sahara's nickname). Others will sell concessions, T-shirts and other items, with all the proceeds going to help the Aldridge family pay for medical and travel expenses.

If Sahara is home this weekend, she'll be there, said Shannon Aldridge. And he expects the event to be a big one.

"We're hearing rumors around town there's going to be like 500 people out there," Shannon said. "My whole family is really pumped about this."

Since word got around about Sahara's illness, the Aldridge family has received support from all over the community. Her cause has also reached people around the world thanks to pop singer Rick Springfield, who encourages his fans to support Sahara on his Web site,

Renick, a well-known local musician, said he felt he had to play at the benefit. He used to work at a day-care center Sahara attended when she was younger.

"You know the person in some way or another, and you feel like you want to do what you can to help," Renick said. "It's just something that I can do. The other guys in the band don't really know her at all, but they understood it was someone I knew and they were up for helping out."

Local Pampered Chef product dealer Carol Nunnery is also raising funds. She's selling products with 30 percent of the proceeds going to benefit the Aldridges. PMac Music and other area businesses have been collecting funds as well.

The Aldridges believe all the support has made a big difference in Sahara's fight against the dangerous tumor. Thanks in part to that support, Shannon Aldridge said his daughter is progressing in her fight against cancer at an amazing pace.

"We're kicking the tumor's butt," he said. "Everything is coming back positive for us. We've not had a sliver of bad news since we got to Houston. The tumor is shrinking, and we think the cancer is leaving her body."

Shannon Aldridge said doctors hope she can return to school in early November.

335-6611, extension 182

Want to go?

* What: Hope for Hoops benefit concert

* When: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday

* Where: Capaha Park Bandshell

* Info: 334-6281 334-6281

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