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Dwight Yoakam Is An Entrepreneur And Artist With A Philanthropical Spirit

Updated on December 9, 2011

A brilliant artist with a philanthopic heart

And amazing singer, songwriter, actor, entrepreneur, etc. etc.

Referring to Dwight Yoakam's debut album, titled "Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc," Dwight himself is a multifaceted and extremely talented artist. Not only a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, he is also an actor, and most recently an entrepreneur, etc., etc.

With a stunningly beautiful voice, he knows exactly how to make women swoon when delivering his brand of ultra hip honky tonk. With light blue eyes peeking out from underneath the brim of his white cowboy hat (and YES, the GOOD GUYS do wear white hats!), he can charm an audience with a simple "look."And even MORE charming is his sly, and wonderfully witty sense of humor!

Recently, Dwight performed at the Las Vegas Hilton, and the two concerts that he did there were also benefit concerts for the Lazarex Cancer Foundation. I have to admit, we went to the show having no idea what the Lazarex Cancer Foundation does, but after being there, we realized what a stellar job this foundation is doing in providing hope and sometimes even extra LIFE to those at the very end stages of their cancer journey.

In fact, the "Mission" statement on the Lazarex Cancer Foundation's website states that their mission is "To provide resources for cancer patients who've been told they have no other options, but who are not yet done with their journey in life and refuse to give up now."

This "never give up" attitude is evident in everything that Lazarex Cancer Foundation does. Once a person has reached the "end of the road" so to speak in conventional cancer treatments, when one has been told by doctors "there is nothing more we can do except to keep you comfortable until the end..." What does a person do then? Well, the Lazarex Cancer Foundation is there to help. They provide the financial assistance for the costs accrued by the cancer patient, and they help them to find access to FDA clinical trial programs, which are often a final attempt at a cure when all else has failed.

They have a firm belief that the size of one's checkbook should not limit them in their quest to extend their life, or the quest even to continue trying to find a cure. They are there to fill an important gap between the time when a patient is told "I'm sorry, there is nothing left that we can do" and the feelings of the patient that they are not quite ready to give up yet!

This "can do" attitude is an amazing uplifting thing, and something rarely seen these days. They also provide community outreach and cancer education programs, so important when one is fighting the battle of their lives,and the battle for their life.

The Lazarex Cancer Foundation was started in 2006, by a woman named Dana Dornsife. Her brother in law had a form of pancreatic cancer that was about to end his life at a young age. In addition, he had three children, the youngest of which was only four years old. She wanted to find a way to buy the family time in his fight against this horrible disease, and in her search for the options that he had, they found a clinical treatment program. The program was successful in giving him enough time so his youngest child would have real memories of her father. So important in the life of a young child!

Since then, Dana has founded the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, for patients who've been told this is it... and it really isn't "it." There are other options out there available in FDA clinical trials, and medical breakthroughs, but in the past patients were often held back from receiving this extra help by financial limitations. This is where the Lazarex Cancer Foundation steps in and provides that help.

I know that a lot of music artists, in country music as well as in other genre's, are extremely thoughtful and philanthropic, and are constantly helping out worthwhile charities. So, this is only an example of one that we have participated in recently. Country music artists especially are known for having huge hearts when it comes to helping charities, and for that, I am so thankful. That has to be one of the best benefits of being a "famous star." To be able to help those in need, even if it is only by using your name to help them.

In the case of Dwight Yoakam, it is so much more than that, he played and sang his heart out for TWO solid hours, giving one of the very best performances we have seen him do, in order to help the Lazarex Cancer Foundation. In addition, he autographed two guitars and two cowboy hats that were auctioned off at the end of the concert, and raised several thousand MORE dollars for this worthwhile cause.

After seeing my husband's Mother go through cancer treatment, and in her final stages with Multiple Myeloma, cancer foundations such as Lazarex are close to my heart. Anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer knows what a devastating illness it is, not only physically, emotionally on everyone involved, but financially as well. When one is in this fight, the last thing they need to be worrying about is the cost of a brand new clinical trial treatment or a breakthrough treatment. I am thankful that the Lazarex Cancer Foundation is there to help at these times!

And did I mention Dwight's sly, witty sense of humor? They had some minor issues with some "feedback" noise, but being the pro that he is, they went right on through those, and he even joked that any extra "noise" was totally free of charge...such a great sense of humor in a time that some artists would have been totally frustrated!

Dwight was born on October 23,1956 in Pikeville, Kentucky. When he was just two years old, the family relocated to Columbus, Ohio where he grew up. He knew at the age of two that he loved music, and picked up the guitar at that age. He played along to such legends as Johnny Cash, as well as Buck Owens, and even Elvis. He secured lead roles in school plays throughout his school days as well, which helped to give him a true love for the art of acting.

A very multidimensional and multifaceted individual, he is also a brilliant song-writer, having even penned hits with the famous Roger Miller, who was known for his quick wit that appeared throughout his songwriting. Together with Roger Miller, they penned Dwight's hit "It Only Hurts Me When I Cry." I have read that they started out the songwriting session with Dwight's line "The only time I feel the pain"... then Roger came back with "is in the sunshine and the rain." And so it goes throughout the song putting opposites together in an amazing way.

Thus is the genius that appears throughout Dwight's recording career, his songwriting career, and in his character acting roles as well. Musically, not only has Dwight recorded 21 albums and compilations, he has also charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard charts, and has sold over 25 million albums.

In addition to his highly successful music career, he is also an acclaimed character actor, and film director. He had a critically acclaimed performance in the movie "Sling Blade" as an abusive alcoholic, and a role in the movie Panic Room starring Jodie Foster, as well as roles in Crank and Crank 2, and Wedding Crashers. He also played a pastor in the movie "Four Christmases" which also starred Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon.

All of this combined could very well lead one to ask, is there anything that Dwight Yoakam cannot do? He is not only an amazing, brilliant talent, but in the future, he will continue to be among the brightest of our shining stars, both in music, and in film. And showing that he also has a beautiful philanthropic spirit by helping out such a wonderful cause has been a wonderful thing to discover!


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    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      That is so neat, Thelma! :) And you're right, so many of them have wonderful hearts! :) Glad you enjoyed this!

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 6 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      I enjoyed your hub about Dwight Yoakum. My husband and I have been privileged to work with several country artists while promoting charity concerts. We have always found them to be very caring and giving people.

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      You are very welcome, Karen, and thank you for your kind words, Lazarex Cancer Foundation is doing great things! :)

    • profile image

      Karen A 6 years ago

      We (at Lazarex) loved your article Kathy! Thank you for spending the time to learn about Lazarex Cancer Foundation, for sharing your experience online and for giving props to Dwight for supporting us.

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Glad you liked it Wayne! :) And I agree, it seems that Buck was really helped out through his friendship with Dwight, and I'm sure Dwight cherishes the friendship they had as well! :) I didn't realize he did shows like this for charity, he sang his heart out that night, we were impressed! :) Thanks for commenting! :)

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      So glad to see this side of Dwight Yoakam who I have admired for his entertainment skills since those first songs he charted. I also like his acting ability...very natural and sincere. It is so good to see a celebrity give of themselves so freely without asking for a lot of publicity or spotlight on themselves. When Dwight teamed up with Buck Owens, I knew that he was a good guy and very willing to help the old stars rise again. He gave a new lease on life to Buck Owens who had literally given up when his best friend and lead guitar player, Don Rich, was killed in a motorcycle accident. Dwight stirred his muse once more and let him go to the grave a happy man. Thanks much for sharing this nice piece. WB