Friday, July 20, 2018
Events

Cancer cure fundraiser inspires with magic

For four months, the Martucci family sat in the intensive care unit, praying 6-year-old Lawrence would win his fight against leukemia.

Even though Dr. Cameron Tebbi stayed in the ICU for 17 weeks helping Lawrence battle, the child did not survive.

Now, 20 years later, his sister, Luana Martucci, honors him with the Lawrence A. Martucci Benefit Corp.

"I decided to join the Children's Cancer Research Group through the 1Voice Foundation to give them all the benefits from any fundraiser we do, because Dr. Tebbi, who is director of the lab for the Children's Research Group, also treated my brother for two years," Martucci said. "I don't think he saw his family that (17 weeks)."

The 1Voice Foundation will host the third annual Magic Cure Benefit on Saturday at the Ritz Ybor with a theme of making childhood cancer disappear. Illusionist Reynold Alexander, Luana Martucci's friend from college, will provide the entertainment.

"He came up to me (sophomore year) and said this is my last year at the University of Tampa. I'm going to do what I love," Martucci said with a laugh. "I was like, 'A full-time magician? Alright I'll see you back here next year.' "

Alexander did not return to school. He took his talents to Puerto Rico, eventually setting a Guinness World Records mark for fastest straightjacket escape — while hanging upside down, from a rope, attached to a crane, that was on fire.

Though he tones it down for the benefit show, the stage will still come alive with lights and smoke.

"I don't know what his closing act will be, but I am always blown away by how he can touch the audience," Martucci said.

Alexander even visits with children at Tampa General Hospital, sharing his magic secrets with the young patients.

Tebbi makes the more serious visits at TGH, complementing bone marrow treatments with research work in his lab at the University of South Florida.

"We are working on a protein that has the potential for becoming a leukemia vaccine," said Tebbi, who became interested in studying leukemia in high school.

He has been doing research for 40 years and his hard work is paying off.

"At the first Magic Cure Benefit, a young girl came out on stage with flowers for him and said, 'Thank you for saving my life', " volunteer Beth Gaddis recalled.

Tebbi says he's enjoying more success now than he did 10 years ago thanks to technology, but funding still remains a challenge.

"If you're holding a dollar in your hand that represents cancer research, about 4 cents goes to pediatric. Ninety-six percent goes to adult cancers, if you will," said 1Voice Foundation executive director Mary Ann Massolio.

Not only does the Lawrence A. Martucci Benefit Corp. give 100 percent of its donations to the cause, it serves as a sort of therapy for Luana and her parents.

"I was 14 when he died and there's not so much I could do, especially when you have parents who are highly depressed," Martucci said. "You know, my family is Sicilian, and we don't seek therapy, so basically it's just buried inside your soul somewhere.

"I would not have been able to even talk to you on the phone three years ago without bawling".

In the past, Massolio, has spoken for, or accompanied Martucci on stage during the benefit, but this year Martucci is strong enough to do it alone.

"I truly feel like I don't know who is benefitting more," Martucci said.

Contact Arielle Waldman at [email protected]

Comments
Bar review: Sip and smoke at Blue Torch

Bar review: Sip and smoke at Blue Torch

Well, the bad news is that Blue Torch Cigars & Winery is not actually a winery. That combination seemed too ambitious to fly under my radar, as Blue Torch had since its opening this year, and that ended up being true.While it’s a curious name for wha...
Published: 07/19/18

Hernando Events for July 27

Events28 SaturdayWalking Sticks Club: Perry Oldenburg: The club will meet at Perry Oldenberg Wildlife and Environmental Area located off Deer Run Road, north of Brooksville. Registration is required. Those attending will learn about the history of Pe...
Published: 07/19/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on July 20

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on July 20

Rascal Flatts: American country band will perform with special guests Dan +Shay and Carly Pearce. 7:30 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $21-$85.75. (813) 740-2446.Classic Albums Live: Pink Floyd: The concert series...
Published: 07/19/18
Paul Reiser, coming to Clearwater, talks about returning to standup and never winning an Emmy

Paul Reiser, coming to Clearwater, talks about returning to standup and never winning an Emmy

When Paul Reiser returned to standup comedy a few years ago, younger comics couldn’t figure him out. "All the younger comics would say, ‘Are you doing a special?’ I’d go no," said Reiser, 62. "‘What, are you getting rea...
Published: 07/19/18
Top events this weekend: Rascal Flatts, #MomTruths comedy, Metrocon, swimsuit bar crawl

Top events this weekend: Rascal Flatts, #MomTruths comedy, Metrocon, swimsuit bar crawl

MusicConcerts: Country band Rascal Flatts boot scoots through Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday ($21-$85.75). Saturday, rock-reggae-hip-hop fusion band Slightly Stoopid perform at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg ($25-$40.98), while ...
Published: 07/19/18
Local craft beer of the week: Good For Life gluten-reduced Kölsch, Pair O’ Dice Brewing

Local craft beer of the week: Good For Life gluten-reduced Kölsch, Pair O’ Dice Brewing

For many sufferers of celiac disease, going out for a pint typically means ordering a cider. But brewers have worked hard to provide a reasonable analog for gluten-free drinkers, offering a range of brews produced from grains like sorghum and rice.Mo...
Published: 07/19/18
What’s on stage this week: Hawk & Wayne does politics, Opera Tampa toasts Gilbert & Sullivan

What’s on stage this week: Hawk & Wayne does politics, Opera Tampa toasts Gilbert & Sullivan

OPEN SEASON: TRUST METwo candidates will square off Friday to debate one of the hottest topics of the political season: immigration. You can see them in action at the First Unity Spiritual Campus, where you also may spot campaign staffers, managers a...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/19/18
Smashing Pumpkins or Dave Matthews Band? Plus Rascal Flatts, Chicago and more concert picks

Smashing Pumpkins or Dave Matthews Band? Plus Rascal Flatts, Chicago and more concert picks

The best concerts this week in Tampa Bay.
Published: 07/18/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 19

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 19

Sunrise Sale and Pajama Party: If you forgot to set your alarm for this sale that starts at 6:43 a.m., you can still find deals into the noon hour. Wear your pajamas for extra deals and a free gift. The starting point is at Beach Drive and Second Ave...
Published: 07/18/18
Where to get a good hot dog in Tampa Bay for National Hot Dog Day

Where to get a good hot dog in Tampa Bay for National Hot Dog Day

Monday, July 23, is National Hot Dog Day. I don’t know precisely why, but I think some major lobbying from the sausage board was involved. It’s baseball season, it’s barbecue season, it’s I-don’t-feel-like-cooking season. Those are plenty of reasons....
Published: 07/18/18