AIC to Host Comedy Event to Benefit Nurses Battling Illness

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) will host a comedy show on Friday, Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. in the Esther B. Griswold Theatre on campus to benefit AIC alumna Kelly Lynch Durand and Mandee Weinberg, nurses in the Step Down Cardiac Unit at Baystate Medical Center. Both are battling cancer. Colleagues and friends from the heart and vascular team at Baystate are coordinating the fundraising event to assist Durand, Weinberg, and their families.

Organizers of the benefit include AIC alumni Marsha Chappel, Patricia Fanion, Alexandra Marra, Amanda Nugent, and Kelly Ann Riddle. According to Chappel, “The ‘Nursing the Nurses’ comedy fundraiser was put together out of love for our colleagues, Kelly and Mandee. When two of our own were diagnosed with breast cancer, all of the nurses on our unit mobilized as a team to figure out what we could do to help them financially while they incurred expenses and lost work time to undergo treatment.”

The group reached out to Jess Miller, creator and producer of the “OMG! It’s Only Wednesday?” comedy series, who has performed at the former Hu Ke Lau in Chicopee and also brought her stand-up routine to Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, and New York City, to work with the nursing team to put the show together. Karen Rousseau, interim dean of Health Sciences at AIC, assisted in securing the venue.

“AIC is a family,” Rousseau said. “When our nursing alumni reached out to ask for help, we were happy to invite them back to campus for this very worthwhile cause.”

Joining Miller on stage will be comedians Carole Montgomery and Lisa Landry. Montgomery has performed in various comedy clubs in the New York City area, including Catch a Rising Star, and has been featured in more than two dozen television shows, including Showtime’s Comedy All Stars 6 and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Lisa Landry came up through the New York City comedy circuit to become an audience favorite. She has appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and The Bonnie Hunt Show, as well as starring in her own half-hour special, Comedy Central Presents Lisa Landry. A nationwide vote catapulted her to third place out of 100 comedians in Comedy Central’s annual Standup Showdown, the first woman to ever place in the top three.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at www.jessmillercomedy.com. Seating is limited. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 8 p.m.

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