Legends Natalie Cole, Gregg Allman and The Allman Brothers Band joined forces last night at the Beacon Theatre in New York City to help raise money and awareness for The American Liver Foundation. The benefit concert was held on the eve of World Hepatitis Day and helped raise awareness for Hep C.
Natalie Cole: “One thing is for sure, there’s a stigma surrounding hepatitis C because it’s associated with IV drug use. But it really doesn’t matter how you got the virus. What’s important is that you do something about it. I am grateful that Merck and The American Liver Foundation created this campaign to give a voice to those with chronic hepatitis C, and I hope that my story can help others overcome their fears about taking that next step by talking to their doctor about their options.”
The concert featured memorable performances by Natalie Cole and The Allman Brothers Band. Guests of the event were thrilled to see living legends on stage performing for a good cause. The benefit concert was a success as it helped raise both money and awareness for the fight against hepatitis C.
In addition to last night’s benefit performance, Natalie Cole joined together with Merck and The American Liver Foundation as the spokesperson for Merck’s new public health campaign; “Tune In to Hep C.” Hep C is a personal cause for Natalie Cole who was diagnosed with the disease during a routine blood test in 2008. At that time she discovered she had been living with the virus for twenty-five years. Cole’s case is actually quite common. Hep C is considered a silent disease. Many people who are infected with the illness can go for decades without any knowledge that they are sick since symptoms do not always appear.
There are about 3.2 million American with chronic hepatitis C. The disease attacks the liver and can lead to cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and liver cancer. There are roughly 70%-80% of newly infected hepatitis C patients out there who do not have symptoms; which is what makes this illness so scary.
The American Liver Foundation has joined Natalie Cole and Merck in the “Tune In to Hep C” campaign in order to help raise awareness about the disease and work as an advocate for patients and their families.
Gregg Allman: “It’s great to have Natalie on board to help spread the message that chronic hepatitis C is not something you can ignore. Together, we’ll be working to fight the stigma that can keep people from addressing this disease. I know all too well that doing nothing is not an option. That’s why we’re telling people, talk to your doctor.”
To view photos from last night’s concert featuring Natalie Cole, Gregg Allman and The Allman Brothers Band, please click on the slideshow to the left of this article.