In August 2016, Patrick Ryan of Scotch Plains was planning to celebrate his 50th birthday by attending a concert by singer-songwriter and producer Butch Walker; he’s a big fan of Walker’s, but had never seen him in concert before. But Ryan ended up having to miss the show after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Ryan underwent surgery successfully at that time. And when he was about to start a second round of chemotherapy last year, he remember that Walker had started, in 2015, a charity for pancreatic cancer patients, The Autumn Leaves Project, in honor of his father, who had died of the disease.
“They helped me out a bit financially, but the most important thing is the personal touch,” said Ryan. “They reach out to check on me at least weekly — even Butch himself sometimes! Really wonderful, kind people, all of them.”
Ryan, who worked in the insurance industry before being sidelined by his cancer, decided to put together an Autumn Leaves Project rock benefit concert in New Jersey. He was also invited to attend two benefits that Walker organized in Topanga, Calif., in November, and speak to the crowd.
Ryan’s New Jersey benefit for the Autumn Leaves Project takes place Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at Roxy and Dukes in Dunellen, and will feature sets by Kris Rodgers & the Dirty Gems, Soraia, The Anderson Council, Paige Howell, and Stinky & the Spuds.
For information, or to buy $15 advance tickets (they’ll be $25 at the door), visit roxyanddukes.com.