New Kensington sister’s plight inspires musician’s benefits
Musician Mike Piroch’s sister, Anna Piroch, was excited that he planned a concert dedicated to helping her pay medical bills after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.
“Concert for Anna” was scheduled for Labor Day weekend that year.
But Anna died a little over a month before she was able to enjoy the sounds of her brother’s band, Creep.
Saddened by her death and facing medical and funeral costs, Piroch, along with several Alle-Kiski and Pittsburgh-area bands, played for a large crowd at the Praha Hotel in Tarentum and dedicated the concert in her memory.
“She didn’t have life insurance,” he said. “We didn’t want to just cremate her, and the concert was something she wanted.”
Since then, Piroch and area bands have been teaming up on Labor Day weekend to keep Anna’s memory alive.
On Saturday and yesterday, Creep and nine Alle-Kiski and Pittsburgh-area bands hosted “Concert for Anna III” at the Praha Hotel.
The proceeds were donated to Rock for Life Inc., an Alle-Kiski nonprofit that assists families with medical and other needs, and to the family of Nathan Keibler of Ford City for expenses incurred when their 8-year-old son died in an auto accident earlier this summer. The family didn’t have life insurance for the boy.
“This is such a great way to honor her in a way she probably couldn’t have done if she was here,” Piroch said.
Last year, Piroch donated the proceeds from the concert to The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Wesley Spectrum for Autistic Disorders and Rock for Life Inc.
“The Make-A-Wish Foundation was something I always thought was a nice thing,” Piroch said. “Most of the recipients are terminal, and to have a good memory before you pass on is a great thing. It is a way to ease the pain on your way out.”
Piroch’s 13-year-old son, Jonathan, was diagnosed with attention-deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Asperger’s syndrome at a young age.
Since attending the Wesley Spectrum Academy in Upper St. Clair, he has nearly no signs of the syndrome.
“He has gotten a lot of help from them,” Piroch said.
“I am in a band that goes all year round,” he said. “I know this time of year is always going to be synonymous (with her death) for me and my family, and it is something I feel very strongly about.”
Hometown: New Kensington.
Family: Wife, Desiree; sons: Jonathan and Kane.
Favorite thing about the Valley: ‘I have been here all my life, and it always felt like home to me. Everyone is close.’