A total of $25,000 was raised for Kelker’s Kids during this year’s Magic City Blues music festival, which took place Aug. 2 – 3 on Montana Avenue in downtown Billings.
Kelker’s Kids, named for Montana’s first pediatric oncologist Dr. Paul Kelker, provides financial support for children and their families undergoing cancer treatment at Billings Clinic.
Festival founders Tim and Pam Goodridge dedicated a portion of ticket and table sales to the organization. They first met Kelker when their son, Will, was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 14, and the fund helped support the family with travel expenses to Denver for treatments.
The disease has been in remission for six years, and Will, who is now 20, was helping behind the scenes during the weekend event.
“We are proud as can be,” said festival founder Tim Goodridge. “This is one of the most special accomplishments that we’ve done as a family, and we want to thank you for supporting us for 18 years.”
In addition to festival proceeds, which Goodridge estimated totaled upwards of $7,000, First Interstate Bank offered a $5,000 match, which was exceeded by employees of Billings Clinic and community donations.
“I want to thank you all,” Kelker told the crowd Saturday night just before headlining band Postmodern Jukebox took the stage. “Cancer is incredibly expensive. Even if you have insurance, or not, it’s likely to be more than you can afford. My hope is that someday we will have enough money that whoever has a kid with cancer doesn’t wind up getting bankrupted.”
Attendance for both nights was estimated between 5,000 to 7,000 people, according to Goodridge, and in addition to the $1 per ticket sold, a portion of table sales from Saturday evening went toward the fundraising goal.
This article originally ran on billingsgazette.com.