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Sarah McComb (centre) and her children (left to right) Nicholas McComb, Peter McComb, Aidan McComb and Katie McComb.Handout

The organizer: Wes McComb

The pitch: Raising $250,000 and climbing

The cause: Funding cancer research at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital

Shortly after Sarah McComb lost her second battle with cancer in 2021, her husband Weston was approached by some friends who wanted to do something in her honour.

Ms. McComb had been diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago. After several rounds of treatment everything appeared to be fine. But in 2018 the cancer returned and she died three years later.

In November, 2021, Mr. McComb met a couple of friends for lunch and they told him about their private foundation. “They said “every year we have to give away this money but we don’t really have a favourite charity. And so we’d like to you to decide to set up something that would be in Sarah’s name,” Mr. McComb recalled.

Mr. McComb came up with the idea of a concert to raise money for cancer research at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. “Sarah loved music and she loved having her friends get together,” he said.

The hospital has a close connection to the family. Ms McComb had been treated at St. Michael’s and her father completed his medical internship at the hospital. It’s also where the McCombs’s four children were born.

The concert, called Rock with Love, was held in November, 2022, at the Opera House and it raised $250,000 for the Sarah McComb Benefit Fund. Part of the money has already gone toward a research project studying the correlation between breast cancer and brain cancer. The family is hosting a second Rock with Love event on Nov. 4, 2023 also at the Opera House. “The goal is just to keep the momentum going,” Mr. McComb said.

Ms. McComb’s sister, Ciara Trickett, said Sarah had a passion for life and a broad range of interests. She taught school, painted paddle boards and loved exploring nature. And she would have loved the concert.

“We kind of described it last year, it was a room filled with love,” Ms. Trickett said.

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