Lots of good news from Crandall Creek

West Virginia’s Crandall Creek has shared some terrific news with their followers, starting with an update on band leader Jerry Andrews’ ongoing battle with colon cancer.

Following surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, doctors were able to tell Jerry that the surgery had been a success, and that he was cancer free. It is hard to imagine how liberating how such a report must be, and we share with many others in wishing Jerry good luck going forward.

Correspondent Bruce Winges shared some further details.

Jerry has a temporary ileostomy, which will be surgically reversed in six weeks. Once healed, Jerry will have a series of 12 chemotherapy treatments over six months.

“I am thankful that this is going to turn out well,” Jerry said. “I also want to thank all those who sent prayers and wished me well – there is strength in faith and community.”

Jerry hopes that by sharing his story, others will take it upon themselves to get cancer screening tests. If Jerry had a colonoscopy at age 50, he would not have needed the surgery 14 years later. Patients who are 50 or older account for 91 percent of new colon cancer cases.

The American Cancer Society recommends that people start screening for colon cancer at age 45, and people in good health should be screened every 10 years. Removing precancerous polyps by colonoscopy reduces the chance of getting colon cancer by up to 70 percent.

The band has also announced the hiring of Abby Latocha as their new lead singer, following the recent departure of their bass player and vocalist, Lili Gadd. Abby, a resident of Mannington, WV, has just turned 20 years old and has been pursuing music and songwriting since she was a young teen. Her music up to this point has been focused on country and Americana.

Latocha says that she is tickled to find herself in this position.

“I have always dreamed of joining a bluegrass band, but never thought it would happen. Crandall Creek has been a blessing for me, and I’m thrilled to be working with kind and talented people.”

A new single featuring Abby’s lead vocal is expected quite soon.

Crandall Creek has also announced Patricia Imbrogno, who goes by Trish, as their new bassist. Living in Pittsburg, she has many years of experience as a professional musician in a wide variety of genres, including bluegrass, of course. Trish received a classical education, and spent much of her career in that realm, but is a convert to the grass, and a 2018 graduate of Leadership Bluegrass.

Other members of Crandall Creek include Dustin Terpenning on banjo, Kathy Wigman Lesnock on mandolin, and Roger Hoard on guitar. All are looking forward to a return to live shows later this month.

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