Family uses love of music and UW-Madison to raise money for canc - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Family uses love of music and UW-Madison to raise money for cancer research

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VERONA (WKOW)-- A Wisconsin family has made it their mission to fight cancer through the power of music. It's why they started the Gray Matters Music Jam, which is now in its' third year. The annual event features live music and a silent auction to raise money for the UW-Carbone Cancer Center. The Semmann's are using their personal story to touch the lives of others who are dealing with cancer.

"It was devastating. We had three young children all under the age of ten when he died," Beverly Semmann says of her late husband Steve. "When someone is diagnosed with a brain cancer disease, they told us there was six months to live. It wasn't what can we do to survive it was what can we do to get things in order."

Steve Semmann was a first rank trumpet player in the UW-Madison Marching Band. Family members say music was a big part of his life. It's why they decided to honor his memory with a live music jam.

"It was something that brought peace to him when he was sick and excitement and fun to us when he was healthy," Beverly says.

Steve's daughter Kristin has a constant memory of her father during her practices and performances with the McFarland High School Band.

"I use his trumpet and that means a lot," Kristin says. "Just knowing that he grew up playing that trumpet and now it's passed down to me, it's so meaningful."

In its first two years the Gray Matters Music Jam has raised more than $50,000 for the UW-Carbone Cancer Center. Family members have the goal of raising an additional $25,000 this year.

"If we can help raise money for research and prevent this from happening to other families, that's what our goal is today," Beverly explains.

Their goal continues to bring support from the local music community. Family members say all of the bands who performed at this year's jam featured friends of Steve who also played in the UW Marching Band. In a few months the Semmann family will find out which research project will get the money they have raised. Family members say it's exciting to know exactly where the money is going and how it is helping in the fight against cancer.

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