SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – At the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sioux City, hundreds of rockers took the stage Sunday for a good cause–the 6th annual Pete Goede Memorial ALS Benefit Concert. Organizers say it was the best turn out they’ve seen in years.
“Peace, love, and rock ‘n roll,” said Eric Boetger, one of the organizers of the event.
Despite the catchy tunes and the couples dancing, attendees knew the concert meant so much more than simply enjoying the songs and sounds.
“None of us knew much about the disease until Pete became ill, and then I went out and checked out the disease, and it was like, ‘You have got to be kidding me. This is the nastiest thing on the planet,'” said Boetger.
Every year the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino honors Siouxlander Pete Goede with an ALS benefit concert. According to the ALS Association of Iowa, the disease takes a life every 90 minutes.
“Your brain physically quits talking to your muscles. [For] a lot of people it starts in their hands, or their hands or their leg,s but eventually you lose the ability to breathe,” said Emily Vanni, the development director for the Iowa Chapter of the ALS Association.
When Pete Goede was diagnosed, he wanted to help others in the same situation.
“This was his idea to do a concert in Sioux City for ALS. It was Pete’s last concert…he passed that April,” said Boetger.
“There is a lot of people in the room today that are either living with ALS, or they have lost someone to ALS, and I think something like this really provides hope to people that are still living with ALS,” said Vanni.
Guests raised money through a donation box and a silent auction containing thousands of dollars worth of prizes. All proceeds went towards those struggling with the devastating disease.
“I was told the average cost is about 200 thousand dollars per year for someone who has been diagnosed with ALS in terms of just medical cost. [I]t’s a horrible nasty disease, and we are just trying to help people by doing something,” said John Curry, one of the benefit organizers.
Over the years, this event has raised over $100,000. It was just announced that this year’s benefit raised more than $36,000, an all-time high for the ALS Association of Iowa.