8th ‘Katie’s Koncert’ set for Nov. 9

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Katie McBride Foundation Michael McBride said he expects up to 800 people at this year's "Katie's Koncert" like last year's event. (Photo courtesy of the Katie McBride Foundation)

The eighth annual Katie’s Koncert, a project of the Katie McBride Foundation that honors the memory of New Hyde Park’s Katie McBride and the families of all childhood leukemia patients and those with other life-threatening diseases, will be held Saturday at Chaminade High School.

The event’s main objective is to honor Katie while raising funds for local families with sick children. This year, however, some of the event’s earnings will also go to quadriplegic motivational speaker Billy Keenan.

This year’s honored guests are Payton Barboza, Dean McGrade, Madison Milio and Keenan, Katie’s father, Michael McBride, said.

“It’s a great night. It’s a real community event,” McBride said.

McBride, owner of the New Hyde Park Funeral Home, established the foundation with his wife, Jeanne, on March 17, 2009, and hosted the foundation’s first Katie’s Run in June 2010 and the first concert in 2012. Katie died in 2008 at age 11.

The fundraiser serves as the main fall event for the foundation to parallel the foundation’s well-known spring fundraiser Katie’s Run which hit its 10th anniversary this year, McBride said.

McBride said the foundation is expecting up to 800 people to attend the event.

The proceeds always go toward local families with sick children, McBride said. This year’s recipients are the families of Payton Barboza, Dean McGrade, Madison Milio, along with Keenan, McBride said.

Keenan, a former North Rockland school teacher, said after crashing while surfing in September 2013, his life changed forever. He was left paralyzed from the mid-chest down. While recovering, Keenan said he was in anguish and asked God to take him. This all changed when he got a phone call from quadriplegic NYPD patrolman Steven McDonald, he said.

“He said, ‘Billy. God has a plan for you,’” Keenan said. “‘You will have a huge role to play.’”

Keenan, a retired military serviceman, “Irish Party” music musician and high school history teacher, said that while he did attempt to go back to teaching after the accident, doctors  suggested he not work a full five days a week so he started doing motivational speaking events whenever he can.

At Katie’s Koncert, however, he said he will not be a speaker, but just an honored guest.

“Really, I’m there to say thank you,” Keenan said.

Keenan said that even though Katie died 11 years ago, “her impact is still reverberating and touching lives.”

On the foundation and all the fundraising work it has done in the past 10 years, Keenan said, “I was just blown away by them.”

The money Keenan receives will go toward his medical fees, he said.

This is the event’s third year at Chaminade and McBride said that all that has changed at the event is the families that get the donations.

The local rock band the Legendary Murphys will perform at the event, McBride said. The event will also feature the NYPD Emerald Society Pipes & Drums band under the direction of bandmaster Kevin McDonaugh, pipe major Danny Sprague and drum major Kevin McCarthy. Jim “Wolfie” McGrath will perform at the beginning of the event, McBride said.

Presentation of the colors and singing of the national anthem will be done by the members of the NYPD Ceremonial Unit Color Guard, McBride said.

The team that ran in Katie’s honor at the NYC marathon “Team Katie” will also be donating the money they raised to the families at the event, McBride said.

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