East Mesa will be “Rockin’ with Talent” this Thursday evening as a highly entertaining and competitive concert event will take the stage at Rockin’ R Ranch—all for a beneficial cause.
Featuring the top 20 finalists in the “Rockin with Talent” competition, Thursday’s live performance will feature a wide range of talent styles and numbers.
“These finalists are really the cream of the crop — amazing talent that will provide an incredible evening of entertainment, all to benefit individuals with concert,” said Margaret Manning, concert organizer and cofounder, with her husband, Larry, of the organization known as “Setting Them Free.”
Manning, a cancer survivor herself, explained that she started the organization to help others facing similar challenges.
On her birthday in March 2009, Manning got the devastating news that she had mantle cell lymphoma, one of the rarest of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.
“With this particular kind of cancer, no one’s really been cured,” she said. “I was told that if I did the strongest chemo and bone marrow transplants two times, I would live maybe three years. If I did nothing, I would die within a year.”
Manning turned to prayer and to her family for support and answers.
“God is our number one physician,” she said.
She ultimately learned about the Burzynski Clinic, an acclaimed alternative health provider. Impressed with what she saw, and feeling like she didn’t have a lot of other options, Manning made an appointment.
The problem was, she had no idea where she would come up with the money.
Just before the appointment, “I had five days left to come up with $20,000,” she said, “and that was just the beginning of the money it would cost.”
Manning and her husband quickly became schooled in the various treatment options, as well as in fundraising. They learned how to reach out to family and friends, how to hold eBay options and other ways of using the Internet to raise money.
They managed to find the funds and, while it took a year and a half, she also managed to realize the goal of seeing becoming “cancer free.”
Manning’s cancer has been in remission for nearly three years; and, now, her efforts have turned to the needs of others.
“We really want to ‘pay it forward,’” Manning said. “We feel our mission in life is supposed to be to help other people.”
In January 2011, she and her husband started Setting Them Free. The mission of the nonprofit organization, as stated on the website, is “to help under-insured cancer and critically ill patients obtain the health treatment of their choice through local and online fundraising campaigns.”
They help others raise money, explain how to do fundraisers and provide additional support, including telling peoples’ stories and collecting donations in their behalf.
Manning says she has other personal reasons for wanting to continue the work of Setting Them Free.
“My brother, Richard [Thomas from Gilbert], is also fighting cancer. He is a father of eight children … and he just wants to live. He’s tried everything else. Now we are trying to raise money to get him back there to the clinic I went to,” she says.
She hopes the Rockin with Talent event and other activities of Setting Them Free can help her brother and others like him.
The event will be at Rockin’ R Ranch, 6136 E Baseline Road in Mesa from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, June 27. Tickets may be purchased online at www.settingthemfree.org or at the door. Individual tickets are $8 online, $10 at door; family tickets are $30 online, $40 at the door.
To learn more about Setting Them Free, read posted stories and learn how to donate or to apply for help, visit www.settingthemfree.org.