Jazz Bridge, the award-winning non-profit dedicated to helping our region’s jazz and blues musicians in need, will be providing free testing and counseling for Hepatitis C, plus information/outreach about the disease on Wednesday, April 8, 5-7 p.m., at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, located at 2110 Chestnut St.

A light buffet will be available to all who attend, and each person who gets tested will be invited, at no charge, to stay for the Jazz Bridge Neighborhood Concert featuring singer Lauren Lark, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Saxophonist Bobby Zankel will also be on hand to tell his story about his life being saved via Hepatitis C testing.

“What better way to celebrate Philadelphia Jazz Appreciation Month than by saving the lives of our area’s jazz and blues musicians?” asked Suzanne Cloud, executive director of Jazz Bridge.

A recent survey by Jazz Bridge of Philadelphia musicians showed half of those who responded had not been tested for Hepatitis C.

“In the 10 years Jazz Bridge has been in existence, we’ve lost two notable musicians to Hep C,” said Cloud. “I saw two musicians, one that I was extremely close to, die of Hep C, and it’s so unfair. It blows up in their face in their early 60s, and they had no idea that this thing had been in their body for decades. A lot of it was things that they did when they were young — they got a tatoo ... it could be anything, and they don’t know about it. They think they’re doing fine, and it just destroys their lives over time.”

Partnering with Jazz Bridge on this program are Healthy Philadelphia, Hepatitis C. Allies of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Hepatitis Outreach Project.

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