Tech rockstars tackle pediatric cancer during June 21 fundraising event in Boston area

Tech rockstars tackle pediatric cancer during June 21 fundraising event in Boston area

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Cancer is a leading cause of death among children ages one to 14. Approximately 10,470 children under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and over 1,000 will likely die from it.

Leaders in the Boston-area technology industry are coming together for an event in June to address pediatric cancer. Today, Hack/Reduce, a non-profit that works closely with Boston’s tech community, announced that its “Tech Tackles Cancer” fundraiser will be held June 21, from 6-10 p.m., at The Sinclair music venue in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Since 2012, TTC has raised more than $2 million in donations for organizations focused on pediatric cancer treatment and research. The Chris Lynch (pictured, left), chief executive of AtScale Inc., is a TTC co-founder.

“There are a number of sponsorship opportunities, and people can participate or volunteer for the event,” Lynch said. “It is an all-volunteer organization; every dollar that we raise goes to the charities that we’ve listed.”

Lynch spoke with Dave Vellante, industry analyst for theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestraeming studio. SiliconANGLE Media is an event sponsor. Josh Epstein (pictured, right), local marketing executive and TTC organizer, participated in a separate interview, and they discussed what led to the event’s founding and its focus on supporting specific organizations dedicated to the care and treatment of young people with cancer.

Story of courage

The seed for TTC was planted when Lynch, a lifelong entrepreneur, would often stay at the homes of families to save money while he worked to get his fledgling businesses up and running.

“There was a family in Seattle that I used to stay with, and they had a son who was a similar age to one of mine. And he ultimately passed of cancer,” Lynch recalled. “I stayed with them a few times while they were going through this, and I was touched. I was inspired by their courage.”

The June 21 event will center around a “battle of the technology rockstars,” in which noted tech leaders serve as featured performers on stage, backed by a live professional band. The format appealed to Lynch, who appreciated music’s art of improvisation, a characteristic often required in the world of technology startups.

“I’ve always loved rock and roll,” Lynch said. “Music has always inspired me, the creativity, the boldness, a lot of things that I apply to my startup life.”

Watch the complete interview with Lynch below:

In addition to Lynch, the event has already attracted a set of noted technology executives who will showcase their performance talents at The Sinclair, a music venue adjacent to Harvard University, which has hosted nearly 600 concerts since it opened in 2013. Executives participating include Nathan Hall, Pure Storage; Ken Steinhardt, Infinidat; Joe Lemay, Rocketbook; Steve Duplessie, Enterprise Strategy Group; and George Hope, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

“It’s competitive. We ask for a minimum of $10,000 targeted for each of these fundraisers,” Epstein explained. “So people are going to go out, they’re going to hit their network, and they are going to look to raise the most money. Awards will be given out for the most money raised, the best performance, and the best stage presence.”

Celebrity panel and voting

There will be a participatory element for the TTC event as well. A panel of celebrities will cast their votes for the performers, and there will also be a streaming component for those who want to join in virtually.

“At the event, we’ll have celebrity judges who are going to be voting for their favorites. And there will be a crowdsource component as well,” Epstein said. “It will be people at the event or watching on LinkedIn Live. They will vote for their favorite performance, as well as their pick for best stage presence, which we know in rock and roll is half the battle.”

The donations raised from this year’s TTC will be used to benefit two specific organizations involved in the treatment and care for pediatric cancer: St. Baldrick’s Foundation and One Mission.

“The approach to researching cures and treatments for pediatric cancer is very different from regular adult cancer,” Epstein said. “St. Baldrick’s does a great job of picking those research projects that target pediatric cancer causes. One Mission looks to help pediatric cancer patients who are spending time in the hospital, making their time less stressful, less painful, less sad, less boring.”

Watch the complete interview with Epstein below:

The challenges of pediatric cancer remain a vivid memory for Lynch, who has successfully founded and sold a number of startup companies over his career. The memory of the child he got to know during his time with the Seattle family years ago has stayed with him.

“I was having dinner at the family home and looking at the boy,” Lynch said. “I excused myself, went to the bathroom and started sobbing. After a few minutes, he knocked on the door, came in and said: ‘Uncle Chris, it’s going to be OK.’”

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Photo: SiliconANGLE

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