By EMILY BROOKS
Published September 5, 2019
NORTH READING — Michael S. Snyder passed away on May 29, 2017 after a long, hard two-year battle with esophageal cancer.
Michael, who grew up in North Reading, was only 45 years old when he passed. His passions in life were baking, cooking and music. Michael was creative and would even create his own music. He wrote a Broadway musical and knew how to play the keyboard, guitar and other instruments.
In his younger years, he attended St. John’s Prep in Danvers and was very active in the school’s Jazz Club. He graduated from Merrimack College and earned his master’s degree from Brown University. Michael worked for the city of Lowell as a computer technician and also started his own computer technology company called Cool Dude.
Since Michael’s passing, his family has worked hard and successfully to honor his life by creating The Michael S. Snyder Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to continue his battle to conquer cancer and promote the arts he loved so much. They are officially partnered with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and St. John’s Prep. Their grants to Dana-Farber apply to specific esophageal cancer research. Also, every year they provide a grant to St. John’s Prep to bring in a professional musician to mentor the jazz group.
“Within that whole two-year time frame of Michael battling the cancer, he never, ever ever complained. That is why when this was over, I said he is not going to go unforgotten,” recalled Richard Snyder, Michael’s father, who runs the foundation.
Unfortunately, esophageal cancer does not have as many options as other cancers do. The Snyder family was always looking for clinical trials but sadly, they never got the opportunity to participate in one. The foundation is working with Dr. Adam Bass, a world leader in esophageal and stomach cancer. They have provided him with a grant to contribute to his research on this type of cancer.
Esophageal cancer occurs in the esophagus, the tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Your esophagus helps move the food you swallow from the back of your throat to your stomach to be digested.
“Wouldn’t it be something if our contribution to Dr. Bass enabled him to come up with a cure or procedure for these kinds of cancers? That’s our reason for doing this,” Richard said.
“The Lovely Singer” returns Saturday night
To fund this important research, the Michael S. Snyder Foundation will host its second annual benefit concert this Saturday, September 7 at 7 p.m. at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 235 Park St.
Lydia “The Lovely Singer” Harrell, a jazz singer, headlines the fundraiser once again. She will be performing along with Steven Higgs on the keyboard who is said to create a “unique show within a show.” Michael was very fond of these artists. This year their goal is to double their grants.
Typically, to see these two musicians perform fans must go to different venues which may be farther away. Harrell specializes in The Great American Songbook; she has sung the National Anthem at the Boston Garden and has also won contests on the East Coast.
The Snyder family wants to not only raise funds but provide a “nice night of music and have a great night out locally without having to fight traffic,” Richard said.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 online at www.msnyderfund.org/. You can hear Michael’s music on the website as well, and find out more information about the foundation. All proceeds go to Dana-Farber cancer research. Raffles to local restaurants will be available during intermission as well as pastries from local bakeries. It will be a nice night of music to benefit a meaningful and important foundation.
On the website you can also sign up to be included on the email chain to keep updated on the foundation and its upcoming fundraisers.
“We appreciate everybody who attends, whether we make $500 or $5,000 it’s something,” said Richard.