Curtain rises Sunday in South Portland on 5th 'Perform for a Cure'

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SOUTH PORTLAND — More than 200 kids will take to the stage at the South Portland High School Auditorium on Sunday, April 11, to display their talent and raise money for cancer research and treatment.

The show, starting at 2:30 p.m., is the fifth annual “Perform for a Cure,” an all-youth variety show.

Executive Director Hannah Friedman said this year’s show will be the biggest yet, continuing a trend of growth since the first show was held at Scarborough High School in 2006.

“The time has gone by really fast,” Friedman said. “(The show) has just spiraled and built up over the years.”

While about 100 people attended the inaugural event to watch 30 adult and child performers and raise $1,700, the event has doubled in size each subsequent year, Friedman said. 

The event has gone on to raise nearly $30,000 over the last four years.

“Most people have been affected by cancer, so that’s one of the reason’s people come to the show,” she said. “As sad as that is, it’s a fact.”

Friedman is a cancer survivor, too. She was first diagnosed in 2000 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which has recurred three times.

The idea to have young people display their talents to raise money for cancer research and treatment is the brainchild of Friedman’s daughter, Rachel, who wanted to find a way to fight back after her mother’s diagnosis.

“I’m so happy my mom has been cancer-free for almost four years and I want other people to feel that way, too,” the 13-year-old said. “For that reason, I’m fighting cancer one performance at a time.”

Last fall, Rachel Friedman, a seventh-grader at Portland’s Lyman Moore Middle School, was honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Northern New England, which awarded her a $10,000 scholarship to a four-year college to study public service.

Friedman won the award for raising nearly $30,000 over a four-year period for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the Cancer Community Center in South Portland.

On Sunday, young performers, whose ages range from 5 to college students, will sing, dance, exhibit martial arts, tell stories and act out plays. There will also be raffles, a silent auction and refreshments.

“It’s a true variety show,” Friedman said. “It’s all forms of art.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Friedman had already sold 560 tickets. The auditorium’s capacity is 680.

Ticket sales will benefit the American Cancer Center’s Relay For Life, which supports cancer research, treatments, prevention and support resources. This year’s relay will take place on June 11-12 at the high school.

Concessions and raffle proceeds will benefit the Cancer Community Center, where adults affected by cancer can receive free emotional and social support through art, writing, yoga, aerobics and support groups to compliment their treatment.

Tickets cost $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. They may be purchased by calling 671-885. Tickets may also be purchased at the door, if available.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]