Written by David Safford

The Valentine’s Day Piano Concert with Anthony Padilla, cosponsored by the Life Raft Group and Columbia Basin College was a tremendous success with 140 guests enjoying a romantic evening of music.

The concert, featuring the works and transcriptions of Franz Liszt, mesmerized the audience. Each piece was introduced by Mr. Padilla reading a brief narrative describing the background of the music. One was about a boat on the water and you could actually hear the boat fighting the storm in the action of the music, a nice touch considering it was a Life Raft event. It was truly fantastic.

The concert was held in the Performing Arts Theater of Columbia Basin College (CBC), the local community college in Pasco, Wash. A preconcert reception of champagne, strawberries and chocolates in the neighboring art gallery got everyone loosened up for the concert. Guests were welcomed by the President of CBC and the CBC Foundation as they explained the mission of the college and that this was the first ever collaborative fundraising event between CBC and an outside non-profit organization. I then introduced my friend, world renowned concert pianist, Anthony Padilla to the stage.

The event also marked my one-year survival of my diagnosis of unresectable metastatic GIST. What a difference a year makes, as many friends and family at the concert clearly recall the dire news of my advanced cancer before the type was determined. Ironically, it was the best news I ever received that it was GIST because if it was any other type of cancer, based on where and how widespread it was, I would not be here today.

The fact that so many people in the community know my story really helped raise awareness for the event. I am very thankful for the sponsors and guests who donated money and bought tickets benefitting the LRG’s Pathway to a Cure.

Anthony Padilla donated his time, talent, and travel expenses. CBC donated all their expenses including the cost of facilities and staff, invitations, postage, ticket sales and accounting, programs, and the pre-concert reception of champagne, strawberries and chocolates. The fundraising effort brought in over 15,000 dollars with 12,075 dollars for the LRG, 3,000 dollars for the CBC foundation (for needy student scholarships) and 500 dollars as the only advertising expense.