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Musicians band together to help Bremerton girl

A local Lollapalooza of sorts will bring musicians together this Sunday for a good cause: to help a teenager overcome her bout with brain cancer.

“Mass musicians band together,” will be from 2- 9 p.m. at the Bremerton Elks at 4131 Pine Road in Bremerton and will feature musicians from Seattle. There also is an open invitation for any musician who is in the mood to jam. Minimum donations at the door are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

The proceeds will benefit Miriam Adams of Bremerton.

Miriam was 15 years old when a family member noticed Miriam was walking as though there was a minor problem with her left leg.

Miriam’s mother, Julie Myers, took Miriam to the doctor, thinking there was just something wrong with her leg. After sorting through the medical confusion and several doctor’s visits and lab tests, the entire family was shocked when Miriam was diagnosed with brain stem glioma, a type of cancer.

“There weren’t many signs,” Myers said. “I wish we would’ve known sooner. Moms and dads need to pay attention.”

Miriam’s reaction to the news was simple: she asked her mother to never leave her alone. Miriam was afraid she would have to go through the ordeal alone; her mother had no intention of letting that happen.

Since the diagnosis, the family has realized that they cannot get through this without help from their friends. That is what the benefit this weekend is all about.

“If it wasn’t for the generosity of others I don’t know where we’d be,” Myers said.

The family has learned what’s important to them in life from all of this and it has really strengthened Myer’s and Miriam’s faith in God. Myer’s asks people to pray for Miriam to get well.

“I don’t think I’d be doing this good if I didn’t know I had this huge community of people behind me praying for me,” Miriam said.

Everyone is invited to the benefit, which is being spearheaded by family friends Rick and Kim Tassin, and Miriam hopes people will bring their own instruments to jam with the musicians from Seattle. For those who cannot make the benefit, money can be donated to the Miriam Adams Benefit, a bank account at Washington Mutual Bank.

There are three branches of Washington Mutual in Bremerton: 500 Pacific Ave., 3891 Wheaton Way and 5050 State Highway 303 in the Fred Meyer.

Rick is a drummer and often does benefits for people.

Kim wants the benefit to bring a little bit of happiness to Miriam’s family and help them out financially.

“We just thought we could help out and we thought it would be fun,” Tassin said. “I love Julie and I love Miriam.”

Before the Tassins and the community came to Miriam’s aid, Miriam felt like she was a burden on her family and felt bad they had to go through all of this for her.

“All of these people are helping and they don’t even know me. It’s helping out so much,” Miriam said.

“It’s really amazing,” Myers said with a tear in her eye, after listening to Miriam say she felt like a burden.

Since finding out about her cancer Miriam has become very involved in the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She recently spoke in front of the Bremerton City Council about a volunteer sign-up for the organization. Adams said people could go to northwestwishes.com for more information on the Make-A-Wish Foundation or to volunteer.

Make-A-Wish sent Miriam and four of her family members to Hawaii. Miriam’s best friend Aneshia Savard also got to go to Hawaii, compliments of her grandmother.

During the trip to Hawaii, Miriam got to meet and talk with comedian and actor Adam Sandler, although it was not a part of her wish.

Now, Miriam is focused on her recovery.

Miriam is involved in a study on experimental drug, Gleevac, at the Children’s Hospital in Seattle. The family credits Gleevac for shrinking one part of Miriam’s three-part inoperable tumor.

“We just hope to see it gradually improving,” Myers said.

As Part of the study, Miriam undergoes Positron Emissions Tomography (PET) scans every six weeks in which she must lie in a machine for two hours. Because the machine measures brain activity, doctors ask her to try not to think about anything. Miriam said during these scans she twiddles her thumbs carefully, mentally recites songs by the band Queen and thinks about what she wants to eat after she is done because she is not allowed to eat 12 hours prior to the scan.

Miriam endures these PET scans at the University of Washington even though she doesn’t have to, as they are an optional part of the Gleevac study.

“This is her contribution to science,” Myers said.

“This is something I have to do,” Miriam said.

Myer’s life, too, has changed. Because she promised her daughter she would be there every step of the way, Myers has since had to quit her job and the family now relies on Adam’s stepfather Sandford Myer’s business, Sandford’s Carpet Cleaning, for income.

Next year, Miriam will be a junior at Bremerton High School where she plans to go part-time. Before being diagnosed, Miriam was involved in DECA and the Future Business Leaders of America, which are marketing programs for students. Miriam plans to get BHS more involved in the Make-A-Wish Foundation through the DECA program.

She will attend BHS with Aneshia, who has stuck by her through the whole ordeal.

“As soon as I found out I tried to be there for her as much as I could,” said Aneshia, who has been friends with Miriam since they were in the sixth grade.

Aneshia and some of Miriam’s other friends sewed a quilt for Miriam with pictures of them together and the text “friends forever” on it.

“They’re kind of the reason I’m down to earth about it,” Miriam said.

“We’re blessed by some really good friends,” Myers said.

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