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Kevy Nova:

The Best of Times & The Worst of Times. All in 48 Hours!

Posted on September 4, 2010 with 0 comments

     I apologize if this blog comes off as rambling. I have so many thoughts flying around in my head right now and it will probably take me a few days (weeks?) to completely process what has just transpired but I want to get it all out while it is still fresh in my mind.


     On June 11 of this year (the day my dad would have turned 60), I announced to the World (via facebook and twitter) that I would try to play guitar for 24 hours to raise some money for the American Cancer Society. I had this Grand Image in my head of me sitting on my bed, alone at home, and playing on the internet for my friends and possibly raising $1,000. I thought, "If I can raise $1,000, that would be AWESOME!"


     Back in January, my friend Veronica Malki asked me to perform at a house concert that she had quickly organized to benefit the victims of the big earthquake in Haiti. There were a couple of things that really struck me that night. One, was seeing so many talented locals pulling together and using their skills to help people across the World, all while having a good time. The second was the role that the internet played, not only in terms of spreading the word but also in broadcasting and the actual fundraising. My friends Gabe Wachob and Tracy Shaun Ruggles (who both know WAY more than me about all things computer-related) had set up a page where people could not only watch the whole performance, but also donate online. I had no idea that these kinds of things were even possible. Between Veronica's energy in throwing together a benefit concert in such a hurry and Tracy and Gabe's help in making it GLOBAL, the crucial seeds had been planted in the back of my brain.


     My dad passed away from Pancreatic Cancer on September 2, 1999. I have dreaded that date every year since then but this year I decided that I had had enough. It was time to try to turn things around and make something positive come out of it. Inspired by what I had seen my friends do in the wake of the Haiti earthquake, I had an idea. My dad was the one who got me into music. He taught me my first few songs on guitar. Therefore, it seemed only perfect that I would use the gifts that I got from him to fight the disease that took him from me. I knew that I was MEANT to do this.


     After announcing this, I started to hear from so many people who had also lost loved ones to Cancer. I also heard from people who are battling it now. I realized that every person's life is affected by this disease in one way or another. Another big motivation for me has been my Best Friend on the West Coast. This guy has been not only a great friend, but a mentor and a role model in more ways than I can count. Half of my life on the West Coast, I owe to him. He has been battling Cancer for the last couple of years and he's definitely had his ups and downs but his attitude is amazing and truly inspirational.


     Thinking about all of these people and things really got me motivated. I did newspaper interviews, sent out hundreds of emails, went on the Planet Glee TV show, had 1,000 postcards made and handed them out to everyone I saw and more but the BIG thing was how many people became involved and wanted to help. They forwarded my emails to all of their friends, they posted links on their social networking sites, my buddy Chris Springer promoted it at his Comedy Open Mics and during a radio interview and his mom, Jayne, found the perfect place (Shari's Restaurant in San Bruno) for me to host the event so that many of my musician friends could sit in and join me! September 2 was actually going to be a GREAT day!


     I went to bed at 1:30am on the big day so that I could sleep for about 9 1/2 hours before getting up and heading to Shari's to get started at 12:30pm. About 30-45 minutes after going to sleep, I woke up with a terrible itch all over my whole body. I turned on the lights and saw that I was covered in a terrible rash. I rubbed cortisone cream all over it to stop the itching and went back to bed. About half an hour later, my whole body felt like it was on fire. When I turned on the lights, I was horrified to see that my arms, legs and torso were completely covered in the worst rash I'd ever seen. My whole body was puffed up and I looked a lot like a burn victim. The only thing I could think to do was take a cold shower to relieve the burning and hopefully make the swelling go down. The next thing I remember is waking up in my bathtub with the water running and in incredible pain. I could hardly believe it but I had passed out! I remember turning off the water and getting out of the shower but that is when I passed out again! When I came to, I was on the bathroom floor with a bump on my head. I crawled to the living room and made a frantic call to 911.


     I spent the next several hours in the emergency room getting poked, medicated, sampled, x-rayed and CAT scanned. At about 6am, the doctor came in and told me that I had a severe allergic reaction to *something* (still don't know what) that was responsible for me breaking out in hives and then passing out twice. He told me that I had a broken pelvis from one of the falls and that I should be on bed rest for at least a week. I told him that I was doing a 24 hour Guitar-A-Thon in 6 hours and he just looked at me like I was crazy. I laid there for another couple of hours until they decided to take more x-rays of my pelvis because the radiologist seemed to think that it wasn't broken after all and the doctor wanted to make sure. The next set came back negative and so even though I could barely stand or walk, the doctor wrote me a few prescriptions and wished me luck on my benefit for the ACS.


     Three hours later, I was at Shari's Restaurant. Robert Slye Jr. was there to help me get set up and started and soon afterward, Jayne Springer and Amy Jaeger were there as well. My mom, who lives in Las Vegas, heard that I had been in the hospital and flew up to see me! The next 24 hours turned out to be the most amazing and wonderful experience of my life! I was not alone once during the entire time. The amount of support that I got from friends, both old and new, is something that I will NEVER forget. What I imagined as me sitting at home and raising maybe $1,000 turned out to be a 24 hour Party that raised well over $6,000 for the American Cancer Society and donations have still been coming in hours after the event ended!!!! None of this would have been possible without all of the wonderfully amazing people who contributed and who helped me along the way. It is impossible for me to name everyone who played a part in this and I don't want to forget or leave anyone out but I would like to give Special Thanks to the following people:


Auri Naggar, for being my biggest inspiration, for showing the broadcast at Cameron's Restaurant in Half Moon Bay and for showing up in the early morning hours of September 3rd to keep me awake and play guitar with me.


Jayne Springer, for hooking me up with Shari's Restaurant and for staying the ENTIRE time to offer help and support!


Amy Cricket Jaeger, who also stayed until the very end and kept the chat room going.


Robert Slye Jr., for being the first one there and helping me get all my gear set up when I could barely walk.


Mark Kostrzewa, for being the first musical guest and playing some amazing 12 string guitar with me.


Hank Gibson, for bringing his prized Hofner bass and sitting in for some GREAT jams!


Cathy Luo, for playing great bass and percussion.


Gabe Wachob, for being the best promoter of good that I know.


Shawn Evans, for showing the broadcast at Rosener House senior center in Menlo Park and then coming up to sing some of his great songs so that my voice could get a much needed rest!


Tracy Shaun Ruggles, for taking over and giving me my one ten minute break!


Eric Ware, for playing keys with me and singing in the wee-est hours of the night.


Erik Frykman, for being a great wing man and supplying some of the best guitar work of the night!


Frank Reisinger, for getting me through the very last hour and singing "God Only Knows" for me.


Alex Smith, for providing the most memorable (and adorable) moments.


Mom and Jen, for coming from so far away and picking up my meds at the pharmacy for me!


Chris Springer for having such a loud voice and talking about this event at his Comedy Open Mics at Famous Johnny's Pizza in San Bruno on Tuesday nights!


Dr. Robert Argand, for showing genuine concern for his patient.


Shari's Restaurant in San Bruno, for letting me call their place "home" for 24 hours and for keeping me fed and full of coffee!


Myshel, for being there. I've known you less than a week but I don't know what I would have done without you.


And to Everyone who donated, and spread the word online and to the 1,440 people who tuned in and watched, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!




September 4, 2010, 3:37am