A benefit concert and silent auction to support Terry Sumsion in his battle against esophageal cancer is scheduled at the Paris Fairgrounds, 139 Silver Street, on April 27 from 1 to 7pm. Tickets are $25 each.
The Legendary Stagecoach Band, longtime back-up for Sumsion, and their wives are organizing the benefit event for the singer.
“Terry has been a big part of Canadian Country Music for 40 years and needs our help as he faces the biggest challenge of his life,” said the organizers in a joint statement. “Musicians, as many of you know, do not have benefit packages or pensions and when something this big hits, it often has a huge financial impact as well as the physical and emotional one that you would expect.
“This benefit is to help Terry and his family offset their expenses as he travels to London for radiation and chemotherapy and to assist with their normal everyday living expenses.
“He has spent much of his career helping others raise funds for worthy causes, now it’s our turn to be there to help him.”
The licenced event will feature a line-up of great Canadian country music talent, a silent auction, and door prizes. Food is also available.
Among those expected to perform are Larry Mercey, Marie Bottrell, Anita Perras, Stagecoach, Southbound, Grant Carson, and Ken Johnson.
The gathering to help Sumsion is coming together almost as quickly as he has moved to help others.
Former Fergus Truck Show general manager Sherry Clarke said in an interview that Sumsion performed at that show for at least 15 of the 20 years she was organizing it.
She said at one point a trucker was injured in a crash in the United States, and Sumsion got together with other truckers and they threw a huge benefit in Woodstock for the injured man.
Clarke said of Sumsion the person, “He’s extremely talented, friendly, easy going, and compassionate person I’ve ever known. He relates well to people one to one, and he’s probably the nicest person I’ve ever had to deal with in the entertainment business. He would play encore after encore.
“He’s not only a great musician, he’s a great friend,” Clarke said.
Sumsion is also well known in the Erin area – particularly by those who have had anything to do with the Erin Fall Fair in the last decade or so.
Eileen Brown, of RR2 Orton, remembers Sumsion for his quick help, and is planning to attend the benefit show.
“Terry has been one of our entertainers at the fair on several occasions and has been very popular with our audiences,” she said of the performer.
She noted, too, he is a generous – and helpful – friend.
“When we had the disastrous fire and the coliseum was destroyed, Terry was one of the first people to call and offer help,” she said.
The coliseum, a former Erin arena located at the fair grounds, was destroyed by fire in 1994, and since it was the fair’s exhibit and concert hall, the fire was a particular disaster for fair organizers. Then Sumsion called.
“He was the first to call and offer help,” Brown said. “He preformed at the benefit concert at absolutely no charge and helped us get going on the re-building.”
She added that now that Sumsion could use a hand, “I think we should return the favour and help him in his time of need.”
Anyone wanting information about the Terry Sumsion benefit can contact Eileen Brown by phone at 519-928-3083, or by e-mail email@example.com
Financial or auction donations are being accepted. Auction prize donations and information requests can be directed to Helen or Wayne Heimbecker at 519-756-7439.
For tickets, contact the Paris Fairgrounds at 519-442-2823.