Unify to Thrive is a non-profit organization founded by Scott J. Schipper, saxophonist for the Santa Cruz reggae/rock band Thrive after he found out he was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer.
The news of cancer might send some into a fit of depression or cause them to give up, but Schipper began his quest to raise awareness of the disease while on tour, spreading the message to numerous venues.
The scene was heartbroken to hear the news of Scott’s passing on Dec. 28, 2013. His two-year battle brought attention to an illness that affects the lives of millions of people. Schipper’s torch has been passed to his friends, family, and fans that continue the diligent race for a cure.
Despite the painful loss of their brother, Thrive’s bass player Andrew Forgy told The Pier: “Though the first few months after his passing were some of the hardest I have experienced, his warrior spirit and drive to better the lives of those affected by cancer inspired me to get the ball rolling. Unify was Scotty’s brainchild and we fight everyday to keep Unify going in order to spread awareness of this horrible disease.”
Proceeds raised by Unify To Thrive will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the leader in cancer research. Since the hospital’s inception in 1962, St. Jude has helped bring the childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to nearly 80 percent with not one bill delivered to the families of the patients.
The decision to donate to St. Jude was simple. According to the band, “Scott was affected by cancer at such a young age he wanted to give back to a hospital/community that put so much blood sweat and tears into helping those affected as well. Since we are in a touring band, he figured that no matter where we are in the country, somebody will know and potentially have some sort of connection with St. Jude.”
While politicians, lobbyists and others in the healthcare industry disagree with policy and funding, those at St. Jude work tirelessly to save the lives of real children. Individuals and organizations such as Unify To Thrive raise a majority of the funds for St. Jude. This method of funding keeps St. Jude free from any corporate or shareholder influence allowing them to focus on the needs of the patients.
Unify To Thrive raffled off a pair of Shaun Logan custom Vans at the 5th Annual California Roots raising more than $750. The Thrive family has also started at team for the STOP CANCER 2014 5/10k Run|Walk. The event will be held at Woodley Park Section I in Van Nuys, California on Sept. 28, 2014. Spots are available on Team Scotty and you will be provided with a commemorative Team Scotty t-shirt and hat upon registration.
The reggae community has contributed to the cause by donating songs for the next Music Unites compilation to be released on Sept. 2, 2014 featuring artists such as Rebelution, Don Carlos, Katchafire, Easy Star All-Stars, J Boog, The Green, Tribal Seeds, Fortunate Youth, Stick Figure, Collie Buddz, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and many more. All proceeds will benefit Unify to Thrive.
The Unify to Thrive website is undergoing a makeover and will soon be available to the public to enjoy some of the beautiful music Scott Schipper created during his life.
“Like most, this horrible disease in many ways has affected my family and myself.” Forgy continued, “When Scott was diagnosed, I was in total shock and disbelief, but his willingness to fight on and tour, share his story and raise money for the kids and family affected was nothing short of inspiring. I was completely humbled and honored when Scott had asked me to keep the Unify to Thrive name going,”
This organization is motivated and dedicated to the cause of fighting the spread of cancer and to promote a long, healthy and prosperous life. There is no greater organization on the forefront of cancer research than St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Unify to Thrive is bridging the gap allowing music lovers to support the reggae scene while supporting the lives of millions of children.