Following a recent “tough week” in his cancer recovery, Toby Keith was unable to travel to California to attend the SabesWings Second Annual Strike Out Fundraiser where he was being honored with the SabesWings Second Annual Lifetime Achievement Award.
Although he was unable to attend the benefit, Keith took the time to film a video to accept the high honor, which was in recognition of his work with cancer patient support programs through the Toby Keith Foundation and the OK Kids Korral, the cost-free home for families of children being treated at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.
Hosted by former professional all-star MLB baseball player and World Series MVP, Bret Saberhagen and his wife Kandace Saberhagen, the event took place at Rava Wines in Paso Robles, California on September 18 and 19.
In the clip, Keith graciously thanks the organization for honoring him and shares more about the foundation’s mission. The video message was originally shown to guests at the two-day charity event, which raised $1,046,000 for the SabesWings charity which helps cancer patients suffering medical financial toxicity.
“Hi, I’m honored to accept this Lifetime Achievement award from SabesWings,” Keith shared. I’ve been through a crazy year dealing with cancer myself and was unable to attend the event this year and I’m sorry about that. I’d like to thank Jay Johnson for that kind speech and all the folks from SabesWings. Bret and Kandace [Saberhagen] select individuals for this honor in three categories. Servitude to a collection of people who are in need, making a difference in the lives of others and the common thread to work cohesively with other groups sharing a purpose in passion.”
The “Red Solo Cup” singer went on to detail the important work that Sablewings does for cancer patients who are struggling financially and also explain more about his foundation.
“SabesWings’ mission is important for people without choices. Bankruptcy rates among cancer survivors are 260% higher among regular households without cancer. As of 2015, 43 million Americans had medical debt collections. 15 million of those individuals in medical debt was the only negative item on their entire credit report,” he explained. “My foundation, The Toby Keith Foundation, founded the OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City. We facilitate lodging and food and transportation to and from hospital for the kids with cancer and their families while they stay across the street from the Children’s Hospital. Helping ease that burden is the reason we started the foundation. It’s truly a dream come true.”
He compared the medical housing to “Ritz Carlton meets Disney World” and even gave a shoutout to two of the OK Kids Korral families who were in attendance. He later detailed the struggles they faced and shared how SabesWings stepped in to ease the financial burden when times got tough.
“The OK Kids Korral is proud to work in union with SabesWings. SabesWings grant applications have gone up 300% in just one year. So you can see the need for this wonderful fundraiser. I’ll end by saying, you can make a difference when you choose a charity that has specific goals and you know money is being spent to help the less fortunate,” he went on to say. “Bret and Kandance of SabesWings epitomizes the perfect choice. Thanks for the Lifetime Achievement Award and kudos to the other recipients for being honored. I look forward to attending on another day, enjoy the rest of your evening, thank you.”
All proceeds from the event will benefit Saberhagen’s cancer charity SabesWings and go directly to the families and patients currently struggling with overwhelming medical and living bills. SabesWings helps to take the financial burden off the patients and families.
In addition to Saberhagen and his wife, Jim McMahon (NFL legend, The Bears!), Chili Davis (MLB All-Star), Colt Ford (Singer, songwriter, Pro Golfer), Michael Timlin (MLB World Series Pitcher), Scott Erickson (MLB World Series Champion), Michael Tyler (Singer, Songwriter), Billy Swift (MLB Pitcher), Patrick Davis (Songwriter w/ Hootie and the Blowfish), Lauren Jenkins (Musician and songwriter), Channing Wilson (Songwriter), Tim Nichols (Songwriter), Sean Berry (MLB 3rd baseman), Roshni Gurnani (Chef, Winner- Food Network’s Chopped), Tully Kennedy (Bassist for Jason Aldean/Songwriter/Producer) and more attended the charitable event.
The event included live music, extraordinary wines, and golf. Participants at the evening’s dinner also had the chance to experience eclectic entrees from celebrity chefs.
“We wanted our guests to have a memorable experience,” states two-time Cy Young award winner and co-founder of SabesWings, Bret Saberhagen. “A great deal of planning goes into our events from the auction items selected to our private labeled beer made just for SabesWings.”
SabesWings began after Kandance Saberhagen fought her own battle with breast cancer and the couple then realized the amount of hardship in the world created by the disease. They collectively saw a solution to aid in providing financial support for cancer patients. The foundation SabesWings provides financial assistance to cancer patients forced to choose between paying medical bills and everyday household expenses. It gives families a chance to heal without worry.
For additional information on the upcoming event visit www.SabesWings.org.
Toby Keith revealed his cancer diagnosis with fans in early June.
“Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer. I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax,” the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member wrote at the time.
He added, “I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
All of Keith’s upcoming concert appearances have been canceled.
Co-produced by Keith and Kenny Greenberg, the 10-track album includes songs co-written with Sammy Hagar, former front man of Van Halen, as well as cuts from the Warren Brothers, Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris, Jessie Jo Dillon and more.
Throughout his career, Toby Keith has charted 61 singles on the Billboard Hot Country charts, including 32 No.1 singles.