24-hour jam session: Edmonton band raising money for cancer patients with marathon concert

An Edmonton band is putting on a marathon concert, rocking out for 24 hours straight. It’s an exhausting feat, but they say it doesn’t compare to the challenges faced by the cancer patients they’re raising money for.

The Dungarees are headlining the third-annual Gig-a-thon at Have Mercy on Whyte Avenue and Gateway Boulevard to raise funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. The money will support the organization’s patient financial assistance program.

James Murdoch, bassist and vocalist for the country group, said cancer patients often encounter unexpected costs during treatment, like childcare and lodging.

“The last thing that they need to worry about is paying for parking when they have the fight of their life ahead of them,” he said.

The 24-hour concert started at 8 a.m. Saturday, featuring performances of songs chosen by patients at the Cross Cancer Institute.

James Murdoch (right) and Kiron Jhass of The Dungarees perform at the 24-hour Gig-a-thon. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

The Dungarees will perform roughly 12 sets, with at least one member remaining on stage while other bands perform.

“We just want to have something of a large magnitude to … represent the fight that people are going through with a cancer diagnosis,” said guitarist and vocalist Kiron Jhass.

“When you’re fighting cancer … it’s a round-the-clock battle,” Murdoch said. “And we’re only doing this for 24 hours. It’s a small segment of what people are really going through.”

The event has raised nearly $30,000 over the past two years, and the band hopes to raise another $15,000 this weekend. The 24-hour concert wraps up on Sunday at 8 a.m.

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