Singing the blues for a friend of music in her time of need

The Charlotte Blues Society and the musical community of Charlotte and some outlying areas have teamed with The Double Door Inn to benefit friend and music advocate Liz Thomas.

She has been diagnosed with Stage III multiple myeloma.

A concert to benefit Thomas will be held 2-10 p.m. July 10 at The Double Door Inn. Thomas, 53, learned she had multiple myeloma, a form of cancer, in March.

She wasn't feeling ill prior to her diagnosis, she said. Her only symptom was fatigue, which she dismissed as stress due to long hours at her job as an executive director with the Terrie Hess House Children's Advocacy Center in Salisbury.

However, as the weeks passed, her fatigue became worse and she began to experience chest pain. Tests revealed high calcium levels and bone fractures, which led to additional tests resulting in her diagnosis.

Although there is no cure, multiple myeloma can be managed through intense chemotherapy, and sometimes - as in Thomas' case - a combination of chemotherapy and stem cell transplants.

Thomas is a longtime supporter of live music and says she has been a fan of rhythm and blues since she purchased her first Motown record as a teen.

"Promoters, musicians and venues have had to make the hard decision to leave the business due to lack of support of live music in this economy. Musicians put so much time and energy into their music," said Thomas. "I feel it's so important for everyone to get out to these live music events and show their appreciation."

Charlotte Blues Society President Jeri Thompson has known Thomas for many years and says she has been an asset to the music community. Thomas used her social media account to get friends involved and encourage their participation in events.

When Thompson learned Thomas was unable to work and didn't have health insurance to help pay for the expensive treatments, she and the music community joined together to help.

"Liz never missed a music festival or the chance to step up and support us," said Thompson. "Now she needs our support, and we will be there for her."