Girl Battling Cancer to Get ‘Rock Star’ Treatment at McGovern’s
When Christa Walker Webber was pregnant with her daughter Olivia, she used to put headphones playing rock music on her belly to calm the baby’s frequent and powerful kicks at night.
Now at 4 years old, Olivia only prefers to be called “rock star.”
“If you call her anything else but ‘rock star’ she gets mad,” said Webber, a Washington, Pa., resident.
Olivia, who is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, will get the chance to live out her rock star dreams during a fundraiser dubbed Rock ‘n’ Roll for Hope. Slated for noon Aug. 24 at McGovern’s Pub, 200 Ruth Ave., Mozart, the event will feature several bands and food for a $10 donation. Proceeds benefit Olivia with a portion of the funds going to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
Webber noted they attempted to hold a fundraiser in the past, but it did not go as planned. The disc jockey, who was from Pittsburgh, kept the money raised instead of giving it to the family. This time around, however, Wheeling-based DJ Roney Creech is helping organize the event. Creech’s nickname for Olivia is “Livi.”
“Our group had a vision of not only putting Livi in the spotlight but her sister Abby as well. As the first planning meetings came we had several discussions on how when a family member is struck by a devastating disease, such as leukemia, the entire family suffers together,” Creech said.
“With this in mind we wanted to give the whole family an escape for the day. It’s the least we could do. So the planning began. Olivia ‘Livi’ Grace was diagnosed with her condition on Oct. 26, 2011, when she was just 2 years old. Livi is now 3; however, she will turn 4 just three days before her big rock star day. Her sister Abby is two years older than her and we want her to have a big day, too,” he added.
Webber said Olivia is in her maintenance phase of treatment and her prognosis is good. After spending so much time at Children’s Hospital during the past two years, Olivia treats the facility like a second home and the staff as her family and friends.
“She’s the happiest kid I’ve ever seen. She loves music – she loves Rob Zombie,” Webber said. “When she wakes up she loves to listen to music and to clean.”
As part of the rock ‘n’ roll day, Olivia and her sister Abby will receive a makeover at Posh Salon in Elm Grove to complement their rock star dresses their mother had made for them. Then their “security detail” will escort the girls to Valley Harley Davidson in Bethlehem where a group of motorcycles will escort them to the show. Anyone wanting to participate in the motorcade is invited to line up at Valley Harley at 11:30 a.m.
The show’s lineup includes: Soulbridge (’90s rock covers); Bumble Rumble (’70s rock covers) along with Avery the 6-year-old drumming prodigy; Old Buddy Jack (’70s to present rock covers); Critical Condition (covers and original music); Tres Hombres (a ZZ Top tribute band); Distant Signals (a Rush tribute band).
Webber noted before Olivia was diagnosed with leukemia, she began to notice bruises on her daughter. At first she dismissed their cause as being from rough play. But after noticing the bruises were becoming much larger and then accompanied by petechiae, she consulted her doctor who referred her to Children’s Hospital for testing. A couple hours after giving blood for testing, Olivia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“They say it’s the best one to have, the most treatable,” Webber said of ALL, noting the treatment is expected to be finished in February or maybe a little later.
“She doesn’t even cry anymore,” Webber said. Olivia has a port in her chest to receive medicine and give blood. “She loves Children’s – she loves everybody.”
Those who would like to send “fan mail” or a birthday card to Olivia can mail it to Olivia Grace/Rock ‘n’ Roll for Hope, care of McGovern’s Pub, 200 Ruth Ave., Wheeling, WV 26003.