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State Honoree

Brett Byrd

Washington

has helped raise more than $100,000 in his mother’s memory by performing with his brother and their rock band in a series of concerts dedicated to breast cancer prevention. Brett and his brother, Cameron, had been playing in a band for two years when their mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Later, when they finally learned that she did not have long to live, the brothers were going to cancel a concert they had planned. “Then we asked if we could still do the concert for Mom to honor her, and maybe the money could go to help poor women to get testing,” Brett said. “Mom cried and said OK.” She passed away in February 1999, and that’s when Brett and Cameron began serious fund-raising to provide mammograms to women who cannot afford them. Working in conjunction with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society, the boys have played dozens of concerts and spoken to thousands of people about cancer and how to get by when a parent dies. They also have produced a CD named after their mother, and hope eventually to raise $1 million for the fight against breast cancer. “This effort has really helped us get through our mother’s death,” said Brett. “If your mom dies, it’s alright to be sad and angry, but helping others in her name makes you feel really good.”