by Joe Basque, Contributor
If you have done a show at the Bellevue Little Theatre in the past fifteen years, you have run into Curtis Leach. A local theater veteran for over twenty years, Curtis has been on BLT’s board for fifteen years and president for the past three. A frequent star on stage, he is a star even more frequently behind the scenes. On February 13, he will be the star of a fundraiser.
As many know, Curtis has been battling bone cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). He is currently hospitalized and undergoing chemotherapy in preparation for a bone marrow transplant. Friends of Curtis are holding a fundraiser to help defray the costs of the treatment and to help find a donor match. Co-organizer Julian Adair says the fundraiser will include food, entertainment, a bake sale, a raffle and a silent auction. “People can stay for the entire event or come and go. Whatever they want to do.” A number of actors and colleagues from his years as a music teacher will perform throughout the evening. The raffle will be similar to the one at TAG awards this summer. Raffle tickets will cost $3 for five tickets or $5 for seven tickets, and you can dedicate the tickets towards specific raffle items. Julian says items are still coming in and will include golf outings and tickets to local theaters and Nebraska basketball. In addition, there will be information on how to become a bone marrow or stem cell donor, and how to see if you may be a match for Curtis. It is much easier than you might think. “All you need to do is to take a swab from your cheek and mail it in,” says Julian. She also notes that they will have information for expectant mothers about donating their umbilical cord. She says that the stem cells from blood from umbilical cords have much greater potential for a match.
Julian, who first performed with Curtis at Bellevue Little Theatre over twenty years ago in “Sugar,” says he is in good spirits and hopes to be able to attend the event if his doctors clear him. Donated items are encouraged “right up to the last minute, although the more notice we have of the item the better.” Cash donations can also be sent to Laureen Pickle, 2531 N. 61st St., Omaha, NE 68104. Make checks out to Curtis Leach Fund or First National Bank of Omaha.
The Curtis Leach Fundraiser will be on February 13 from 4:40 to 8:30 at St. Michael Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street. Admission (including dinner and entertainment) is $8 for adults and $6 for children. To volunteer or donate, contact Julian Adair at 402-551-4200.