Arts for the Cure raises funds for Arizona cancer research

By Tom Collins
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 1, 1996

Karen Tully
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Michelle and Christoph Prado bring Arts for the Cure, a benefit for the American Cancer Society, to Centennial Hall Oct. 13. Michelle is a UA photography senior. The couple came up with the idea of Arts for the Cure after dealing with Michelle's experience with breast cancer.


Michelle and Christoph Prado met at the mall.

Christoph was in Phoenix interviewing for a state senate attach­ job. He walked over to the Metrocenter shopping mall to kill time and saw Michelle working at Chess King.

The two started to hang out, and then they started to go out.

"It was one of those things that was so perfect," Christoph said.

After a year, Christoph asked Michelle to marry him. She said yes, and they were married in December 1994.

And then, four months later, Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26.

"I had had concerns since I was 25, but the doctors said, 'you're too young, you're too young, you're too young,'" Michelle, now 28, said. By the time a biopsy was done, the cancer had begun to spread through her body.

There is no history of breast cancer in Michelle's family, and she does not smoke. In fact, Michelle said 85 percent of breast cancer cases have nothing to do with genetics.

The honeymoon seemed to be over.

"The first week I was making plans for the end of my life," Michelle said. "I had to come from that point and work my way up."

While the couple was driving down from Mt. Lemmon one day, an idea hit, and Arts for the Cure was created.

Arts for the Cure is a benefit for the American Cancer Society and a chance to learn about breast cancer.

On Oct. 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Centennial Hall, the show will feature performances by the Drakes, Lemon Krayola, White Chrome Splendor, Frank Lloyd Vinyl, King Pleasure and the 10th Street Dancers as well as the stand up comedy of KHOT's Joey Medina.

The evening will be hosted by KFMA's Chuck Roast and KNST's Victoria Steele.

The show begins with a dance performance by Michelle and two other women. It will also feature the work of visual artists, including Michelle's own photographs.

"I have to say that through this whole experience, I've done a complete 180," said Michelle, who was a psychology major heading towards a Ph.D. when the cancer struck.

"Suddenly, a nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday job didn't appeal to me; life is too short," said Michelle, who is now a photography senior at the University of Arizona.

She had been a dancer and a photographer for years, and now those two arts are of utmost importance.

Besides the fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society, the couple also intends to start a support group for young cancer survivors and their spouses.

The key to mental recovery, the couple said, is to view yourself as a survivor and not a victim.

"I talk about it all the time. I'm proud of it," said Michelle, of her experiences.

Putting together an evening of this scale is no easy feat, and raising money has been a struggle.

Christoph estimated the cost of the evening between $10,000 to $11,000. Thus far, Arts for the Cure has only raised $1,000.

"The talent is not hard to come by; it's the money," Christoph said.

"When you're told that your generation is so unaware of what's going on, you get more aware," Christoph, 25, said.

The evening will be "chock full" of statistics and information, as well as entertainment, Michelle said, to give the audience some tangible facts and thoughts to carry home.

Tickets for the American Cancer Society benefit are $12, $10 for students, and are available at Centennial Hall and Dillard's. All proceeds will go to the society.

Donations for Arts for the Cure can be given to its account at Arizona State Savings Bank or mailed to Arts for the Cure, P.O. Box 42485, Tucson, Ariz. 85733.