2016-08-18 / News

Comics to raise money Friday for fight against brain cancer

By Ryan Gibb

Gallagher Gallagher If laughter isn’t the best medicine, one Jamestown woman is hoping it, at least, can raise some money toward it.

Amy Gallagher, who operates an eponymous charity for adults with brain cancer, has invited some comedians to town. The Funny 4 Funds comedy show is at 7 p.m. Friday at the recreation center.

The East Shore Road mother of three, who was diagnosed with a glioblastoma tumor in spring 2014, founded the Amy Gallagher Foundation in November. Since then, her health has improved following immunotherapy treatment that reduced the blood supply to the tumor. Every patient, however, doesn’t have the financial means, so Gallagher’s charity raises money and awards financial aid to tumor sufferers. It is the only such foundation in Rhode Island.

The comedy show is the foundation’s second fundraiser, and the first in its founder’s hometown. The first benefit was in April in Providence. This time, however, Gallagher was inspired by the old adage: “Laughter is the best medicine.”

The show was the brainchild of Gallagher’s friend, Michelle Bush of Clinton Avenue, a member of the foundation’s board. The idea came after Bush attended another comedy show operated by the same company.

“That’s the beauty of how our company runs,” said Bob Simas, co-founder of Funny 4 Funds. “When we’re doing a show to help raise money, there’s always people in the audience who knows somebody who could use help.”

Simas, a stand-up comedian from Warwick, started his business with friend and fellow comedian Mike Murray. They have organized 282 comedy fundraisers throughout New England in the past 22 months. Their shows have raised approximately $1.75 million for various charities and causes.

The company’s material ranges from family-friendly to Rrated. Although Friday’s show is for adults only, the routines won’t be crude or vulgar.

“It’s everyday silly adult material,” Simas said. “They will see a great quality of comedy. That’s the key. Yes, you can be an adult and make people laugh and not be offensive. They’ll come out and have a good time, raise money for Amy and her cause and laugh until their face hurts a little when they leave.”

As with most performances, Simas will headline and emcee the show. Also scheduled are sets from Bay Stater Roman Pierce and West Warwick native Brad Pierce.

“I hope Jamestowners get a good laugh,” Gallagher said. “I hope they all can appreciate that brain cancer can affect anyone. We’re all at risk. It’s important to get behind a local charity.”

Gallagher’s not sure if the show will become an annual fundraiser, but she is planning a benefit in Providence in 2017. For Friday’s show, the Pacos Tacos food truck and Spinnakers will be on-site. Tickets cost $30 and are available through the foundation’s website.

“We haven’t done a comedy show before,” she said. “I’m personally excited to be sharing this event with the community.”

“We love what she does and what she stands for,” Simas said. “How do you not want to get behind something like that?”

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