Moonlight Martinis for Cystic Fibrosis

by By Madeleine Peck
Scientists say that there is no one that a person is genetically closer to than a sibling. Perhaps then, this explains the deep emotional bonds many brothers and sisters share; and sometimes those ties don’t bind, they inspire and uplift.
For country singer Tammy Cochran, that is just the case. As a child, her two brothers, Shawn and Alan suffered from cystic fibrosis. And though neither of them would live to see the success she would garner as an adult, they both supported her, their entire short lives (Shawn died at 14, Alan at 21). She also talked about how every CF family thinks that they “will be the exception…we will be the ones to beat it.” Ultimately though, hope and optimism gave way to a grimmer reality, and more profound truths.
“My brother Alan told me that although he knew me couldn’t be here with me to see my dream come true, he would always be here with me,” said Cochran.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary disease that affects the exocrine (mucus) glands of the liver, pancreas, and intestines, causing progressive disability due to multi-system failure. Thick mucus production results in frequent lung infections, and individuals who suffer from CF often die in their 20s or 30s from lung infections.
Because of her familial exposure, and because of her award-winning song “Angels in Waiting” that details her relationship with her two brothers, Cochran has become a spokesperson for the CF Foundation. That’s what brought her to Jacksonville on October 18. The Foundation held its annual fundraiser, Moonlight Martinis, at Fogle Fine Art this year. Against a backdrop of fine art, fine wine, and fine food, the organizers put together a live auction with items donated by local businesses (including a few fantastic-looking meals), and a final “Bid for a Cure.”
Cochran performed intermittently throughout the evening, however, as she took the makeshift stage to perform “Angels in Waiting,” the room fell silent. As her sometimes tremulous, sometimes husky voice rose and fell, like a maple leaf, slowly turning its face towards the sun, people were opening weeping. A carefully coiffed women leaned into two of her friends, her breath coming in short hitched bursts, as they slowly rubbed her back and assured her that “she would be one of the ones to beat it.” Here’s hoping she is.
Prior to the live auctions, Cochran takes the mic to tell her story, to remember her two brother and ask that people dig deep into their pockets, that they open their wallets and “give to this good cause.” She then starts going person-to-person, visiting a little with people, and getting them to open their hearts (and then the wallets follow).
This year, according to Dana Troeger with the CF Foundation, “We have raised a little more than $10,000 in our Live Auction and $10,000 in our Bid for a Cure donations. [After] Tammy visited with guests after the program and by the end of the event had raised an additional $500.”