Rochester, N.Y. – The University of Rochester’s YellowJackets are teaching students at School #58 how to sing a capella.
One of the students, Sammy Parker, will star in the group’s next show.
“He’s an inspiration to all of us,” said YellowJackets singer Aaron Sperber.
Sammy has a rare form of cancer, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. The 11-year-old has been fighting it his whole life. Tumors recently returned and the cancer is at an advanced stage. Sammy begged his parents to stop aggressive treatment.
“It’s amazing to me. He’s our hero,” said Sammy’s mother, Heather. “To be really honest, this is the worst thing that can happen to a family and he’s made it easy on us.”
The YellowJackets planned a benefit concert for Sammy on Sunday at Eastman Theatre. The money raised won’t pay for medical expenses. It will pay to send Sammy and his family to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. The Parkers went there with the make-a-Wish Foundation. It was the only place they didn’t cry.
“After hearing that Sam’s cancer had come back, I think it was the second question he asked. ‘Can I go back to Atlantis?’” Heather Parker said. “What the YellowJackets are doing is making that dream come true.”
Sammy has a solo in the concert. He sings a verse from the song “One Day.”
Sometimes I lay under the moon
And thank God I’m breathing
Then I pray don’t take me soon
Cause I’m here for a reason
“I think a kid who’s had cancer or is battling cancer, ‘lucky’ isn’t a word they use to describe themselves,” Heather Parker said. “But this program and what the YellowJackets are doing, Sam feels lucky and it’s really special.”
“It’s awesome singing with the YellowJackets,” Sammy said.