Nova Scotia

Matt Mays headlining concert for child with cancer

A benefit concert headlining Matt Mays is being held to help a Halifax-area family preparing for three months in Toronto while their young son undergoes cancer treatment.

A benefit concert featuring Halifax rocker Matt Mays is being held to help a local family spend three months in Toronto while their young son undergoes cancer treatment.

Two-year-old Zac Connolly was diagnosed in May with stage four neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer that develops from nerve tissue. It affects one in about 100,000 infants and children, and is more common in boys.

Since his first trip for treatment in Toronto, he's been gaining weight, and he's full of energy. His bone marrow tests have come back cancer-free, but there's still a long road ahead for his family.

"We've got some good news, his bone marrow is clean, so there's no more cancer in his bone marrow, and his tumours are all shrinking, so all the masses are getting smaller. So, so far, so good," said Angela Connolly, Zac's mother.

Connolly said her family is toughing it out.

Hard on whole family

"Lots of ups and downs. When you hear the good news, you're so excited. When he's covered in a rash from head to toe, or when he's vomiting from morning until night you also get your downs. So we've all been up and down, the whole family."

Zac still has three tumours — one by his neck, within his chest, and around his kidney — that have to be removed. The family will go back to Toronto this fall, and this time they'll stay for three months. While his parents are there, they won't be able to work.

Darren van Niekerk is a family friend. The sound engineer and producer contacted musicians to put on a benefit concert.

Zac's fundraiser will take place on Friday night, and it features Matt Mays, the Stanfields, and Andrew Hunter and the Gatherers at Montes Showbar and Grill in Dartmouth.

"Matt [Mays] and I have been working together on and off for eight years now on different projects, so it was just a matter of calling up and saying, 'Can you help us out with this?' And he was like, 'Absolutely.' He was really supportive."

About half the tickets have been sold. Angela Connolly said she thinks $10,000 would cover the family's expenses.

"We don't know what's to come in the future. We don't know, medical-wise, what we're going to need," she said.

Mays said he appreciated van Nieker's efforts to help the family.

"Myself and all the other bands, we're all friends of Darren's. He made us aware of the situation. We wanted to help as much as we could," said Mays. "All the artists in the concert are donating their time so that the family can raise as much money as possible."