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Southlake Style

Southlake's Just Brass Band Donates $1,300 to Texas Health HEB's Bluebonnet Retreat Adult Cancer Program

Jan 25, 2016 03:18PM ● By Dia

BEDFORD, January 22, 2016 -- Local area youth band members met with Texas Health Resources Foundation and Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford and donated funds raised over the holidays to benefit adult cancer patients.

The Just Brass Band, a local Southlake youth brass band ensemble, raised over $1,295 for breast cancer by playing several concerts at the Southlake Town Center during the months of November and December. Concerts were free and were mainly for fun. Funds were raised from donations made by passersby as they stopped to listen and enjoy the holiday spirit while shopping or dining at the Town Center.

Sophomore Ethan Jezek formed the group for fun three years ago with friends all from Southlake Carroll. Now in it’s third year, The Just Brass Band includes seven players ranging in age from eighth grade to sophomores in high school. The Band’s focus was so successful in raising funds for Parkinson’s research last year, that The Band decided this year to raise funds for breast cancer. The support again from the Southlake community was phenomenal.

“Shortly after finishing up last season, my friend and bandmate, David Coughlin’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Ethan Jezek, band leader. “Mrs. Coughlin is a teacher at Carroll Senior High School and has been a huge supporter of our band. It’s been a very scary time for David and his family this past year. The Band discussed it and decided to donate the money we made to breast cancer in honor of David’s mother. With her help, we decided that the Bluebonnet Retreat was the best place for our donation.”

“I found out at I had breast cancer on January 28, 2015,” said Kelly Coughlin. “When you first hear the diagnosis you think it is a death sentence. In April, I was selected to attend the April Bluebonnet Retreat as a camper. I cannot tell you how much the retreat changed by life.”

Texas Health HEB’s Bluebonnet Retreat has been a special project of the hospital system for 20 years. The only Adult Cancer Camp in the metroplex, the Bluebonnet Retreat is made possible through an endowment fund from employee and community donor support. The camp experience is free and open to any adult over age 18 who has received a cancer diagnosis or cancer treatment within the past five years.

During the three-day, two-night camp set in a relaxing natural environment, attendees are provided a creative, educational atmosphere of support with a focus on wellness. Campers enjoy arts and crafts, physical activities, cancer education, and time for sharing and caring.

“The counselors and fellow campers were amazing,” said Coughlin. “I was surrounded by survivors who helped give me the strength to survive. We shared stories and learned things from each other. By the end of the retreat, I felt like I had gone to a family reunion and met my long lost family members that I didn’t know I had. It’s a wonderful healing experience.”

As the name implies The Just Brass Band is a group of seven Southlake Carroll band students, all brass instrument players. Members of the band include: band leader Ethan Jezek - tuba (10th grade), his sister Devon Jezek - french horn (8th grade), Sally Hatfield - french horn (9th grade), David Coughlin - trombone (10th grade), Asher Stevens - trombone (9th grade), Walter Gaman - trumpet (10th grade) and Justin Little - trumpet (10th grade).

“Being a part of The Just Brass Band is truly a blessing,” said Walter Gaman, band member. “I love playing music more than anything, and to be able to raise money for a good cause, perform service, and do it all while doing what I love, is amazing. It was great to see so many smiles as people watched us. It has taught me a lot about happiness.”

“The Just Brass Band is a great opportunity on so many levels,” said band parent Laura Hatfield. “The kids are learning to organize and work together, and performing in public — all of which will be valuable in all their academic endeavors. It’s a wonderful way for the kids to use their talents while giving back to the community.”

“The Band would like to thank all those that stopped by to listen to us,” said Jezek. “We are deeply humbled by the continuous generosity of the people of Southlake and their families and friends. Thank you for your donations to breast cancer. With your help, we were able to provide cancer patients a care-free weekend where they don’t have to worry about their diagnosis, and can work on recovery. Thank you for supporting a bunch of kids who just like to have fun playing their instruments.”

The Just Brass Band plans to continue the tradition and will play again next holiday season at the Southlake Town Center. To keep up with The Band, you can check their Facebook page: The Just Brass Band.

PICTURE (at Texas Health HEB) CAPTION: Southlake’s The Just Brass Band donated $1,300 to Texas Health HEB’s Bluebonnet Retreat Adult Cancer Camp program, Friday, January 22, 2016. Pictured l-r are: Traci Burnett - Senior Administrative Assistant Texas Health Foundation, Celeste Chandler - Cancer Survivor/ Bluebonnet Retreat Volunteer, Kelly Coughlin, David Coughlin, Asher Stevens, Devon Jezek, Ethan Jezek - band leader, Tammy Quottrochi - Nursing Services Manager, Oncology, Cindy O’Harra - Bluebonnet Retreat Volunteer, Michelle West - Administrative Assistant, Nursing Services, and Karen Johnson - Cancer Survivor/Bluebonnet Retreat Volunteer. Not pictured: band members, Walter Gaman, Sally Hatfield, and Justin Little.