Music ó A concert for Chris Allain

by Richie Victorino

Dad to mark Fathersí Day with cancer-fighting benefit

Chris Allain spent his 37th birthday in a hospital receiving his first chemotherapy treatment for a rare form of cancer.

Itís not what he planned, but the unexpected has become the norm since this father of three learned he has osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer that typically affects people ages 10 to 25.

Not only is it rare that a man Allainís age is diagnosed with osteosarcoma, but itís rare where the cancer was found, not in the bones but in his heart.

And although the tumor tried to intrude, there are only a few things that have a home in Allainís heart: music, his family and his church.

These loves will come together on Fatherís Day, when the people who Allain has shared his life with for years take the stage at the Palace Theatre to make one thing clear to Allain: he and his family are not alone in this battle.

And the battle will be long. Doctors removed the tumor but believe a piece fell off into his lung, and now Allain faces a 10-month-long aggressive chemotherapy treatment that will surely take a toll on his body.  Each Thursday he drives to Mass. General Hospital, and stays overnight for treatment. Once a month heíll stay at the hospital for a full week of treatment. And this all started with what Allain thought was either bronchitis or pneumonia. When the medication he had been taking wasnít working he went to the hospital.  Instead of getting a new prescription, Allain was told that he had a tumor. He was rushed into emergency open-heart surgery.

ďHe basically went in one day thinking he had pneumonia, and the next day he found out he had cancer,Ē said Jimmy Lehoux, Allainís friend and longtime band mate. Lehoux is working to get the word out on the show and said Allain is too ill to do publicity himself.

By the time the benefit concert arrives, Allain will have survived his third chemotherapy treatment. He probably wonít be in any condition to perform on stage, said Greg Gagne, drummer for The Jimmy Lehoux Band. So while The Jimmy Lehoux Band and several church choirs take the stage, Allain will be in a position heís not familiar with, watching and not performing.

ďIím sure itíll be a very difficult thing for him [not to be performing],Ē Gagne said.

Allain has played bass for The Jimmy Lehoux Band for a decade and with the St. Marieís Christian music group for nearly 20 years.  His wife also works at the church.

All of the proceeds will go to Allainís family, according to Frank Howard, who organized the event. Howard has performed in church groups with Allain dating back to 1985. Howard also said the Palace Theatre has been extremely helpful, by charging what he calls a phenomenally low price to rent the theater. 

A compilation CD, with music Allain has helped create, will be available soon through a website formed for him,

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