Jared Koston, the 40-year-old drummer of the Cleveland, Ohio-based metal band VENOMIN JAMES, and his wife Michele will appear live on WJCU's "Metal On Metal" radio show tonight (Friday, April 2) at 8 p.m. EST.
Jared has been diagnosed with two brain tumors stemming from stage IV melanoma cancer.
The Kostons have four children, no health insurance or current employment due to Jared's illness.
Tune in at 88.7 FM in the Cleveland area or stream theshow live worldwide at www.wjcu.org.
Since Jared's story went public last week, the family has received an outpouring of financial support from the heavy metal community. Donations have been coming in from all around the world.
"I want to thank everyone that is thinking of my family and praying for us and to everyone who has donated", says Michele Koston. "This is really helping us out so much, from just paying for meds, gas money to the hospital and to feeding us. Thank you so much. We will stay positive and Jared just has to get better. We will keep fighting this demon. This is my best friend and I will not stop fighting with him. He is my soulmate."
Last week Jared received a visit from his VENOMIN JAMES bandmates — all except lead vocalist Jim Meador, who is overseas stationed on the frontlines in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army.
"Jared was all lit up when the band members came over," says Michele. "It was an awesome time. It made him feel so good and happy."
Jared's condition continues to be up and down. He has been going to University Hospital in Cleveland on a daily basis for radiation treatments. Chemo treatments are scheduled to start soon.
This past Monday, his doctor advised him to be taken to ER because of pain he was experiencing.
"It is just so strange how my husband of ten years can one day be walking around, working, playing with the kids and doing gigs," says Michele. "Just about two months ago he was doing all these things.
"It is so hard for me and the children to see him like this.
"Jared has never been the one to be taken care of. He has always been the one to take care of everyone else.
"This is very hard on me. To see him in so much pain and always sick.
"I never thought we would ever have to ask people for help."
"Jared is a fighter and such a strong guy. I am so proud of him for staying strong and fighting this.
"I know none of us really know what he is going through with all this pain and misery. We must all show Jared that we are behind him on his side fighting this with him."
Cash, checks and money orders (payable to Jared Koston) can be sent to:
The Koston Family
3060 Princeton Drive
Madison, Ohio 44057
PayPal donations can be sent to: [email protected] (be sure to mark "personal," then select "gift"). There also is a Koston Cancer Funds "cause" page set up on Facebook.
Michele Koston has organized two spaghetti dinner fundraisers at the Stadium Grill in Mentor, Ohio on May 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. and at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Madison, Ohio on May 24 from 5 to 8 p.m.
A Harley Davidson benefit run organized by Kristen Matejka is also in the planning stages, along with benefit concerts featuring original Cleveland metal bands.
John Shahinian, the owner of The Exchange (a Cleveland-based independent record store chain), read Jared's story online on a music news site and donated $400.
WJCU general manager Mark Krieger and station manager Rob Duns have organized a fundraiser for Jared with the station's staff. The station will equally match up to $200 in donation pledges.
Jared's last show with VENOMIN JAMES was on February 19, 2010 at The Breakfast Club in Cleveland, volunteering his time to help raise money for WJCU's 2010 Radiothon. This was during the station's time of need after the university had significantly cut their operating budget.
"VENOMIN JAMES were one of the bands that bent over backwards to play at our Radiothon benefit concerts helping us to exceed our $40,000 goal," says Duns. "Jared and his family were there for us when we needed help raising money for Radiothon so we are asking the staff to help his family during their time of need."
"None of us had any idea how sick Jared was or was going to be shortly after our benefit show," says "Metal On Metal" host and Auburn Records president Bill Peters. "It all happened so fast. He kept his illness very private all these years.
"Jared is a great and very hard-hitting drummer.
"There is no way anyone suspected something was wrong.
"Unfortunately, it seems like we only hear and read about the negative news stories in the world today. This one is a positive. It is a story about people banding together in a grassroots effort to help a fallen metal brother and his family.
"The heavy metal community has united to make a difference in this family's life.
"Thank you to everyone who has contributed. Please continue to keep Jared and his family in your thoughts and prayers."