DAVEFest Jun22

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DAVEFest

This article ran in the Rapid City Journal about Davefest: 

When Dave Curington noticed blind spots in his vision last December, it was the first hint that something wasn’t right.

“Things moved pretty quick,” said his wife, Lindsay Curington, recalling the speed with which the family’s life changed after that eye appointment.

A consultation with an ophthalmologist prompted an MRI. The couple began to sense that the 37-year-old attorney who works for the Pennington County Public Defender’s Office faced a serious problem.

“We were pretty sure we were dealing with something that wasn’t wonderful,” Lindsay said.

Their fears were confirmed.

That visit to his optometrist started a rapid chain of events that led to brain surgery to remove a tumor Jan. 28 at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

Surgeons removed the tumor and predicted Dave Curington would be out of the hospital within 24 hours, but complications from a cramped nerve kept him hospitalized for five more days as he struggled with debilitating pain and weakness in his hands and arms.

Tests verified that the tumor was a glioblastoma malformae, an aggressive form of brain cancer, Lindsay Curington said. The star-shaped, fast-growing cells attach to the brain’s connective tissue, making it difficult to remove.

The tumor was on the surface of his brain, and although the surgeon was confident that he removed all of it, there is a risk that a few base cells were missed. So after surgery, Dave Curington began a regimen of radiation and chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. The Curingtons elected to stay in Phoenix for the treatment.

Dave Curington’s parents opened their home to the couple’s three children, ages 16, 14 and 10. To be with her husband, Lindsay Curington took an unpaid leave of absence from her job as manager of Starbucks Coffee, at 1705 W. Main St.

“That was a hit,” Dave Curington said of the family’s financial sacrifice.

Dave Curington used vacation and sick leave to cover his absence from the public defender’s office. He was back at work within two days of returning to Rapid City in early April.

Although the family was reunited, it was a hard transition. There is a new routine, and a busy family is learning to cope with the reality that “Dave has cancer,” Lindsay Curington said.

Dave Curington continues with a maintenance dose of chemotherapy five days a month and has an MRI every two months.

So far, the MRIs haven’t detected any recurrence of the cancer.

Although the couple has medical insurance, the co-payments on the policy and the cost of his prescription drugs are staggering.

Bonny Fleming said friends of the family have stepped in with a plan to help with expenses: Dave Fest.

Dave Curington has played bass with local bluegrass groups for years, so a bluegrass theme was a natural direction for a fundraiser.

The response has been overwhelming, organizer Fleming said.

“We posted it on Facebook, and within 12 hours, 60 people said they were coming,” she said.

Providing music for the event are several familiar names in the local music scene: Fancy Creek Jumpers, String Tied, Ester’s Place, Jolly Llamas, Six Mile Road, Jami Lynn, and Hank Harris and Kenny Putnam. Food and beverages have been donated, as well as several pieces of art for a silent auction, and there are door prizes, including 200 coupons for a free hair cut from The Factory.

The outpouring of concern and support has amazed the Curingtons.

“We’ve been humbled by this entire experience,” Lindsay Curington said.

Contact Andrea Cook at 394-8423 or andrea.cook@rapidcityjournal.com