Community Gathers to Support Bigfork Musician

By Beacon Staff

Friends and community members in Bigfork are coming together to help a local musician and his wife overcome the burdens of serious illness.

Nancy Kamerick had already been battling significant heart issues when doctors discovered pancreatic cancer during an examination. She went through drastic surgery, including removing portions of the pancreas and the small intestine, to combat the disease.

Soon, she began chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The costs began to build up for Nancy and her husband, Steve. The couple sold their Bay Automotive Shop in Bigfork in 1999. But the market took its toll on their retirement, friends say, stretching an already tight budget to its limits.

When the Kamericks’ friends and neighbors realized the struggles the family was going through, they decided to put together a benefit to help stave off the financial burdens associated with cancer treatment.

This idea eventually turned into a May 7 event that organizers are affectionately calling a “fundraising extravaganza” for the Kamericks, which will include music from five local bands, dinner, auctions and more at the Montana Club on Highway 35 near Bigfork.

Todd Noble, who has played music with Steve Kamerick for years and is one of the event’s organizers, said the idea is to help them pay for the treatments, but also to provide a little peace of mind to let Steve and Nancy enjoy each other’s company.

“It’s obviously going to be a huge amount of money as far as medical bills and such,” Noble said. “We’re hoping if we can’t make a dent in the medical bills we can at least get them some cash so they can spend some time together.”

Participants can expect a rocking show, Noble said, with donated performances from the Kenny James Miller Band, KC Sorenson & The Valley Kats, Brian “Blues Man” Higgins and Edmund Fitzgerald.

The Smokehouse Blues Band will also play a set, with a special appearance from Steve “Big Daddy” Kelley. Smokehouse Blues Band also features Steve Kamerick on the keyboards.

The night will also feature a pig roast, silent and live auctions, raffles, door prizes and dancing. Fitzgerald will play classical guitar during dinner, Noble said.

Tickets for the event cost $20 ahead of time or $25 at the door, and are available at the Woods Bay Market, The Raven, The Tall Pine Lounge in Bigfork, Creative and Native in Bigfork, Music One Workshop or at www.nancykamerick.com. The event starts at 4 p.m.

The following afternoon, May 8, participants are invited to continue the party at The Raven in Woods Bay, where there will be performances from The Bad Larry’s, Badrock Canyon Bluegrass Band, John Dunningan and Craig Barton and Friends.

There will also be a pie auction, raffle and door prizes on Sunday.

“That’ll be just a big, open acoustic jam,” Noble said.

May 8 is Mother’s Day, which Noble hopes will work in the benefit’s favor, since it would be a fun option for people to treat their moms to a midday show. The Raven’s activities begin at 2 p.m., and there is no admission fee.

While pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest to overcome, Steve and Nancy visit Kalispell daily for treatments, Noble said, and they remain optimistic about their chances.

“Things are looking positive for her; they’re both real positive that they’ll at least get it to go into remission,” Noble said.

Noble said the Kamericks’ friends and neighbors began preparing for this event last December, solidifying plans before letting the Kamericks know what was going on.

After getting to know the Kamericks, who recently celebrated their 26th anniversary, Noble said he knew that they are humble, hardworking people who have been there for others in need. The fundraiser is a gift, Noble said – a community taking care of its own.

“I thought that it was important to reach out to them,” Noble said.

For more information, visit www.nancykamerick.com or call Todd Noble at 406-250-6257.

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