Take a walk around Albany this week and you might be confused to find Republican and Democratic legislators alike sporting quirky rainbow socks as an accessory to the normal suit-and-tie.
The colorful socks are the symbol of the Sock Out Cancer, a nonprofit that works to help families who are dealing with cancer in paying for everyday expenses that may be strained by medical payments. The socks are sold to raise funds for these families, each colorful strip on the sock representing the 25 different cancers people can be diagnosed with.
Bruce W. Boyea founded the nonprofit in 2017, and officially launched the program with a benefit concert in Binghamton; the inaugural concert raised $160,000.
This year, Boyea has teamed up with legislators Sen. Fred Akshar, R-Binghamton, and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, to bring the second annual benefit concert to the Capitol.
Tomorrow, May 8, the campaign will be presenting the benefit concert featuring William Close and The Earth Harp Collective at the Palace Theater in Albany. Net proceeds from the concert will go directly to the foundations of Albany Medical Center and St. Peter’s Hospital to assist financially distressed families who are battling cancer.
According to the Palace Theater website, Close was a finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, has recorded music for various films and was recently named by the World Record Academy as creating and holding the record for the world’s largest stringed instrument.
In the state Capitol last week, Akshar and Lupardo held a press conference attended by legislators of both parties in Albany promoting the event, explaining their involvement in the charity.
“It’s not often you see Republicans and Democrats at press conference together agreeing, but we are agreeing on something very important today,” Akshar said. “This particular disease knows no political party, no race, creed, class or color.”
While emphasizing the gravity of assisting families struggling with cancer, Akshar specifically named four-year old Cooper Busch, who was born with Down syndrome and was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in November 2016.
“Cooper, who is from Binghamton, has recently been put into hospice,” Akshar said. “I stand here with my esteemed colleagues to give him a shout out to let him know we love him, that we are rooting for him and that his family is in our thoughts.”
Lupardo said after Boyea reached out the her and Akshar regarding the possibility of hosting the 2018 benefit concert in Albany, the two legislators jumped at the chance to bring the event to the state capital.
The Palace Theater event begins at at 8 p.m. on May 8. The Broome County Forum Theater in Binghamton will host a second benefit concert on May 11, also at 8 p.m. Tickets and socks can be purchased on the campaign’s website.