Thousands Come Out To Support Local Businessman, Musician Battling Cancer

November 24, 2018
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Thousands Come Out To Support Local Businessman, Musician Battling Cancer

SCRANTON — Just weeks after Brian Craig received his cancer diagnosis, 2,000 friends and family showed their support Friday night at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple for BRI DAY.

“It feels amazing seeing everybody here,” said his wife, Sharon Yanik-Craig. “It gives us so much encouragement. ... It gives us hope. It just helps us get through these hard times.”

The benefit began at 4 p.m., and by 5, crowds had already piled into the venue to show their support for the musician, barber at Loyalty Barber Shop and Shave Parlor and co-owner of the Bog. Admission was $25, with all proceeds going to Craig and his family.

Craig, 45, lives in Roaring Brook Twp. with his wife and 5-year-old son, Grayson. The 45-year-old is battling stage 4 appendix cancer.

Proceeds will help them pay for out-of-network expenses, copays, deductibles, travel and overnight stays at hotels, Yanik-Craig said.

“It gets hard financially,” Yanik-Craig said.

The night featured eight bands, a cash bar, T-shirts and at least 100 donated baskets, gift cards and silent auction items.

Although Craig couldn’t attend the benefit, the outpouring of support “means the world to him,” his wife said. “He asks me every day has anyone called to ask about him. It means so much to both of us.”

Bill Orner, who organized the event, learned of Craig’s diagnosis about an hour after Craig did. The next day, he called the cultural center and started planning the benefit.

“These are all his extended family,” Orner said. “All these thousands of people know him, and he’s touched them in one way or another.”

He’s known Craig for about 21 years, and they’ve been friends “from the first time I met him,” Orner said.

“I’ve been all over the world with him,” he said. “The way I look at it is, he’s made me a better person for knowing him. ... He knows how to get the best out of everybody.”

As a bar owner, Craig was concerned the benefit would take away business from local bars, Orner said, adding that the weekend after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest weekends of the year.

“He didn’t want to do it,” Orner said. “He’s usually the guy throwing the benefit.”

To appease his longtime friend, Orner opted to end the benefit at 10 p.m. so patrons could still support their favorite venues after the event.

Clyde Rosencrance of Clarks Summit met Craig through the music industry, and the two have known each other for about 15 years.

“He knows everybody,” Rosencrance said. “It was really heartwarming just to see how quickly people latched onto it and said, ‘You know what, Brian cares about so many other people, we care about him, too.’ ”

To donate to Craig and his family, visit briancraigfundraiser.bigcartel.com.

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