(April 26, 2019) BJ’s on the Water co-owner and two-time cancer survivor, Billy Carder, despite receiving a pacemaker two months ago, is amped up to perform live during the 18th annual Relay for Life benefit at the 75th Street restaurant starting at 2 p.m. this Sunday.
Maddy Carder, co-owner of BJ’s, will grace the stage along with her husband for a performance by Teenage Rust and the Fabulous Rustettes, the 60s’ garage rock inspired band the couple have fronted since 1981.
“This band really means everything for my husband,” she said. “He is bound and determined to play this weekend.”
The Relay for Life cancer benefit at BJ’s became an established tradition shortly after Billy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2000.
“Everyone is impacted by cancer in some way with family and friends,” she said.
Despite overcoming the earlier health scare, after Billy Carder was beset by vision problems in May 2012, and following two eye operations and one biopsy, doctors confirmed he had lymphoma of the central nervous system.
Maddy Carder said the situation worsened in June 2013 when doctors prescribed intensive chemotherapy treatments, with the multi-weekly rounds of powerful medication eventually causing Billy to lose mobility.
In September 2013, with the brain tumor gradually diminishing, medical professionals proposed Billy Carder undergo bone marrow transplants, which in the end provided an antidote to overcome what became a three-year life and death struggle.
After becoming immersed in the role of caregiver over the preceding years, Maddy Carder said watching continually-developing medical treatments like bone marrow transplants save her husband’s life, permanently imprinted the importance of supporting cancer research.
After being twice blessed to put cancer in the rear view mirror, last fall Billy Carder suffered heart issues, with the latest malady resulting in a procedure to install a pacemaker about nine weeks ago.
Although the Relay for Life event does help raise funds to support the American Cancer Society, Maddy Carder said the gathering serves another end.
“It’s a celebration of life and not focused on raising money,” she said. “To see the inspiration of Billy barrel through everything with determination and pride.”
Sunday’s festivities also serve as a prelude to the larger North Worcester County Relay for Life annual event scheduled for Saturday, May 11 at Frontier Town Campground, located off Route 611 in Berlin.
The event, held from 11 a.m, to 11 p.m. for the American Cancer Society, attracts those commemorating survival, honoring loved ones who have succumbed to cancer and individuals presently engaged in the struggle for life.
Organizers have raised more than $48,000 of the $100,000 fundraising goal as of earlier this week for the event, which is sponsored by, in addition to Frontier Town, Atlantic General Hospital, Peninsula Regional Medical Center and the original Greene Turtle in north Ocean City.
Representatives with North Worcester County Relay for Life will be on hand Sunday at BJ’s on the Water selling Luminaria dedications to honor lives impacted by cancer at next month’s event.
Luminaria will be used to light up the community starting at dusk during the Frontier Town event on May 11.
Maddy Carder said often overlooked among the memorials for cancer survivors are the loved ones who serve as caretakers and provide positive energy to counter the darkness.
“Caretakers urge survivors on and allow them to be a survivor and not a statistic,” she said. “Without a caretaker the survivor may give up.”
In addition to live music kicking off the afternoon celebration at 2 p.m., Carder said patrons could look forward to the festivities winding down with a $10,000 raffle drawing at 6 p.m., of which half supports Relay for Life.
There will also be a number of smaller dollar 50/50 raffles on Sunday, as well as happy hour drink and food specials.
“It’s amazing how many people will donate it back,” she said. “All the money raised stays on the Eastern Shore.”
Regardless of dollars raised, Carder said the annual Relay for Life event also serves to foster cancer awareness and, ideally, offers a guiding light for others tasked with similar health struggles.
“To realize how lucky we are to be together as a community,” she said. “Anyone can get through with Billy as inspiration.”
For more information, call BJ’s on the Water at 410-524-7575