CD Comforts Ill Mother and Benefits the Siteman Cancer Center

Jason Merrill

April 21, 2009 – Musician Mike Bearman wasn't sure what to give his mother for Mother's Day. Suggestions from a friend led the St. Louis musician to create a jazz CD to lift her spirits while she underwent cancer treatment in Florida.

The project, originally intended for his mother, now benefits cancer patients at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

Bearman’s mother, Celeste “Sally” Bearman, found out in 2006 that she had a serious illness. Though he was unable to be with her during this difficult time, he knew he could be close to her through his music. He decided to produce a CD and title it Songs for Sally.

“Virtually no one knew I was making this gift. My mother was having a test done and was about to receive some potentially bad news, so I sped the process along in an effort to get the CD to her as soon as possible,” Bearman says. “I overnight-shipped the CD, so she would have it with her shortly after she received her test results.”

Bearman put his more than 30 years of trumpet experience to good use. He gathered local musician friends and recorded the CD over two evenings in January 2007 at a Chesterfield, Mo., studio. He created the artwork for the cover and produced the entire project with his own money.

“My mother was very pleased but quite shocked,” he says. “It made her cry, and my mother never cries.”

Once Bearman decided to get other musicians involved in the production of the CD, he felt he should do something more than just make a copy for his mother. He looked for different organizations and causes that could benefit from sales of the CD. He decided to work with the Siteman Cancer Center.

“Cancer research on a local level is important to me, and I knew I wanted to work with Siteman,” Bearman says. “They were thrilled when I brought the idea to them.”

Bearman had been pushing for his parents to move to the St. Louis area for quite some time and finally convinced them roughly six months after he gave his mother the CD. He says his mother is now winning her war against cancer with chemotherapy and excellent medical care.

“She is handling everything pretty well,” Bearman says. “She was exceptionally pleased when I explained the idea of Songs for Sally benefiting Siteman.”

Songs for Sally CDs can be purchased at Siteman’s Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center, 4921 Parkview Place, St. Louis, for a $10 donation. All of the proceeds benefit the cancer center. For more information or to purchase a CD over the phone, call 314-362-7844.