Spring has sprung, and with the onset of the new season comes an influx of challenges for those who suffer with asthma and allergies. But thanks to an innovative and exciting effort to bring awareness to the plight of asthma and allergy sufferers across the nation, Americans will gain greater insight and access to resources to help alleviate problems associated with these dreadful health concerns.
The Breathe America Initiative & Concert Series (BAICS) is an educational effort that increases awareness about asthma and allergies while simultaneously offering hope and inspiration through the art form of music from a renowned saxophonist whose own bouts with asthma were so severe that he had to live in an oxygen tent, Mr. Raymond Boyce.
The Raymond Boyce Foundation has partnered with Strength through Faith, a 501c (3) non-profit organization to host BAICS. The first concert kicks off at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 30, 2011 at St. John Baptist Church. In addition to Boyce, the concert will feature the talent of R&B and Gospel recording artist Shirley Murdock, who is perhaps best known for the song, “As We Lay,” as well as her recording with Bishop T.D. Jakes, “The Lady, Her Lover, Her Lord.” A portion of the proceeds from this extraordinary concert series will support AAFA’s asthma and allergy awareness, education, advocacy and research projects.
BAICS begins in Savannah, and spreads to other Georgia cities (with a mini concert series) to include Albany, Athens, Macon, Columbus, Augusta, and there will be an additional concert in Greenville, SC. The larger concerts will kick off in Atlanta, GA in July 2011 and will stop in Kansas City, MO; Memphis, TN; Houston, TX; Kansas City, MO; Charleston, SC; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Cleveland, OH; and Chattanooga, TN, all of which have been cited as among the worst cities for asthma in America. Musical guests for these cities will include nationally known artists such as J. Moss, Chris Tomlin, Toby Mac, Casting Crowns, Martha Munizzi, Kirk Franklin, Byron Cage, CeCe Winans, and Israel Houghton and more.
A plethora of activities are scheduled for BAICS’ Savannah launch. They include: Thursday, April 28th – Musical performance for patients (children) at Memorial Hospital (Time) Friday, April 29th – “Wounded Warriors” concert for the soldiers. Saturday, April 30th – Health Fair from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Savannah Baptist Center. The fair will feature pulmonary screenings, assistance and information for the uninsured and the underinsured, various exhibitions with educational material and food, as well as prizes. Saturday, April 30th – Breathe America Inspirational Concert at 7 p.m. at St. John Baptist Church
“My own personal experience with asthma is a testimony within itself,” states Boyce. “I was able to miraculously overcome my bout with this dreadful disease and I count it a privilege and an honor to be able to share my gift of song through the saxophone with others as a means of hope and inspiration.”
Those involved include Savannah Mayor, Otis Johnson and County Commissioner, Van Johnson, as well as the business and medical professionals of Savannah such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The African American Health Information & Resource Center, Comfort Suites Historic District, American Kidney Foundation, American Cancer Society, Amerigroup, Aeroallergy Research Labs, Armstrong University, Savannah Business Group, Safety Net, Chatham Steele Corporation, Adams Funeral Services, Clear Channel, and Marketing Communications Group USA.