WEST ORANGE, NJ – Prelude for a Cure founder and West Caldwell resident Claire Mattern, a cancer survivor and classically trained pianist, has combined her love of music with her strong desire to help find a cure for lung cancer, as well as developing an earlier detection method, to create the upcoming “Rock Out Lung Cancer” event benefitting lung cancers research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

The event, to be held Friday at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange, will feature appearances by Actor Michael O’Leary from A Guiding Light, Interior Designer and Author Blanche Garcia from Hotel Impossible, The IMDb Show and HGTV Design Star, and Craftsman Sean Killman from All American Handyman, as well as tribute bands "The Real Diamond Band," a Neil Diamond tribute band, and "A Foreign Journey," a Foreigner and Journey tribute band.

“My family has battled with cancer in one form or another for generations,” O’Leary said. “Most recently, my father succumbed to Leukemia in only six months. Cancer is the thief in the night.  I am honored to be a part of this event and be a member of the community that is unrelenting in finding a cure.”

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The event will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will include be touching comments from a lung cancer survivor and giveaways from Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in appreciation of everyone’s support.

Mattern, whose organization is the leading non-profit dedicated to the support of lung cancer research and awareness, said she is “incredibly excited by the amazing array of musical talent and celebrity support that will appear at this year’s event.”

“Fans of Neil Diamond, Journey and Foreigner will be enjoying live music from these extremely talented tribute bands, eating a scrumptious buffet, bidding on silent auction items and winning prizes,” said Mattern. “It is incredibly gratifying how the buzz around Rock Out Lung Cancer has increased every year. Great fun, great food and a great cause—you can’t beat that.”

According to statistics from the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer by far—killing more than 160,000 people each year, more than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.

“The group of people who are ex-smokers and have long since quit smoking, as well as people who were exposed to smoke in the past, are the leading group being diagnosed with this terrible disease,” said Mattern. “Although there is a screening method for a specific group of people who have smoked cumulatively a pack per day for 30 years, there is no screening available for the rest of us.”

According to Mattern, once a person is diagnosed with lung cancer from an X-ray, there is only a 16-percent survival rate.

“Although there has been tremendous progress in the lung cancer fight with targeted and immune based therapies, lung cancer research remains incredibly under-funded,” she said. “We can change that. The reality is that the more dollars we raise for research, the faster the progress toward a cure and an earlier detection method. Prelude was founded to address the tremendous shortfall in research funding and to support the search for promising new treatments.”

Many celebrities, including Joe Cocker, George Harrison, Paul Newman, Dean Martin, Donna Summer, Peter Jennings, Lou Rawls, Vincent Price, Beverly Sills, Andy Kaufman, Yul Brynner, Nat King Cole, Joe DiMaggio and Walt Disney, have died from lung cancer—and not all of them smoked, Mattern said. She said she hopes this inspires people to join Prelude on Friday to “offer a little help in the fight against this all-too-common and devastating disease.”

All proceeds from Rock Out Lung Cancer will go to support groundbreaking research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York—one of the country’s leading institutions for cancer research, diagnosis and treatment.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $50 at www.preludetoacure.org or for $60 at the door.  For more information, contact preludetoacure@gmail.com.