Musician Michael Heaton was overwhelmed by the support shown to him last year when a few of his musician friends decided to throw a benefit concert for him at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora to raise funds for his battle against medullary thyroid cancer.
The 1985 Batavia High School graduate, who lives in Montgomery, is doing much better these days and will pay it forward when he performs with his band Sept. 14 at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway Ave. (Route 25). All door proceeds will go to benefit 4- year-old Victoria “Turtle” Williams, who was diagnosed with leukemia at 22 months of age.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Heaton about the upcoming show. The interview has been edited for length and style.
Eric Schelkopf: It’s great to hear that you’re doing well these days. I understand that you are in trials with a chemotherapy drug.
Michael Heaton: Yeah, so far, so good. It’s a genetically targeted chemotherapy drug.
Schelkopf: The benefit show for you last year was an amazing event. There was so much love in that room that night.
Heaton: I couldn’t believe it myself. It was really overwhelming.
At the time, I was really, really scared that this was going to be my end, so it was sort of like going to my own wake or something. I’m kind of half laughing about that.
Basically, for almost three months, I was literally stuck on the couch. It was hard for me to sit up. It was hard for me to walk. I used a walker to get from the couch to the kitchen or from the couch to the bathroom.
Schelkopf: So, are you happy to give back by doing this show?
Heaton: Absolutely. I was at a point where I didn’t think I was going to be able to play my guitar again.
I didn’t get to touch it for about seven months, because it was actually painful to even hold the guitar. I’m really excited about the fact that I can give back and do something nice for another family, just kind of pay it forward in the process. I’m hoping that we can raise some money for Turtle.
Schelkopf: During A Night for Mike, other musicians were playing your songs. How did that make you feel?
Heaton: That was a little overwhelming too. I was really touched.
I thought it was really cool to see what people had done with the tunes. It was a very nice tribute. It’s like my songs are children and they went out into the world somewhere and they had their own little lives and touched other people.
Schelkopf: I personally liked Pete Jive’s version of “Good Times.”
Heaton: Oh, yeah. Pete’s owned that song for the last couple of years. He does a great version of it. He projects that song, you know.