Pop star to play at benefit for Cape girl with cancer

Friday, October 20, 2006

The latest addition to the Show Me Center's fall lineup will make no money for the venue or the artist. Instead the money will help a Cape Girardeau girl in her fight against brain-stem cancer.

Show Me Center marketing director Shannon Buford said Thursday that pop star Rick Springfield will play the Show Me Center on Dec. 8. The concert will be a benefit for 12-year-old Sahara Aldridge.

Springfield's management firm, Doyle-Kos Entertainment, confirmed Thursday the concert will take place.

Springfield has known the Aldridge family since Sahara was 5 years old. When he learned of her cancer, Springfield made Sahara's cause his own, using his Web site to encourage fans to support the Aldridge family spiritually and financially.

Sahara's mother, Amy, said Springfield mentioned the idea of a benefit concert some time ago, but there hadn't been any official word until now. She's not surprised that Springfield made sure the concert would happen.

"He is one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet," Amy Aldridge said. "He is genuinely sweet, he loves kids. ... He considers Sahara the daughter he never had."

Sahara was diagnosed with cancer this summer. She has spent most of her time since then receiving treatment at the Children's Hospital at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Since the treatments began, Amy Aldridge said, Sahara has shown steady progress. The tumor's growth has been stopped, and Sahara has regained some of the motor skills the tumor interfered with.

During that time Springfield called Sahara in Houston and the other children staying at the Ronald McDonald House near the hospital.

Last week Sahara came home for the first time in months. Over the weekend she attended two benefit events that raised over $20,000 combined to pay for travel and medical expenses for Sahara and her family.

Amy Aldridge said the family is amazed by the sheer amount of support generated by the local community and by Springfield fans worldwide.

"It just continues to grow, and I'm just floored by it," said Amy Aldridge. "I'm so proud to live in Cape Girardeau right now."

Buford said the idea of this kind of benefit was something the Show Me Center couldn't pass up.

"I can't think of a better cause," he said.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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