Pygmalion Music Festival Honors a Life Lost to Lymphoma

CHAMPAIGN--An up-and-coming music promoter lost his life to lymphoma 25 years ago when he was just a teenager. Now, Josh Gottheil's legacy lives on through the rock music he loved.

By age 16, Josh was booking big-name bands for concerts around Champaign-Urbana. His passion proved to be profitable when he made $400 for one of his first shows. The income impressed his father Fred. But what Josh did with the money impressed Fred even more.

"He said, but I, I gave it to the band, I gave it away and I said why," said Fred. "Well, he said, 'they had a problem with their car, with their van coming in. And I figured they needed the money more than I did.' And I knew we had a winner right there."

Three years later, Josh lost a battle with lymphoma, a blood cancer. But the nurses stuck by his side throughout his fight, so his parents decided to stick by the nurses and keep their son's entrepreneurial spirit alive.

"I said 'look, I'll raise money, what is it you want?" said Fred. "And they said 'well, we could have awards for oncology nurses."

Since 1994, more than 80 oncology nurses have furthered their education thanks to grants from Josh's Memorial Fund. This year, some of that money will come from a new partnership with the Pygmalion Music Festival.

"We're donating a certain amount of the proceeds, as well as a per ticket fee on certain shows," said the festival's founder, Seth Fein. "It's really something that only developed in the last four or five months, so as time goes on and the years go on, we'll find new and interesting ways to try and raise funds and also raise awareness for this particular charity."

Which falls right in tune with what the budding music promoter behind the charity would've wanted.

"Josh would love this," said his mother, Diane.

Because the boy that gave away his $400 has now raised more than $1 million in his memory to continue helping others.
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