A friendship between a "Saturday Night Live" star and a Kansas City musician is helping lift others up, while bringing some superstars to Kansas City to help.
With assistance from actor Jason Sudeikis, Billy Brimblecom, Jr., executive director of the non-profit group Steps of Faith Foundation, is raising money for people in need of prosthetic limbs with the live variety show "Thundergong!"
The two will be joined by performers like hip-hop superstar Chance The Rapper, comedians Will Forte and "Veep"'s Sam Richardson, as well as Sudeikis emceeing and a variety of bands, musicians and performers at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Mo.
The show is an extension of the work Brimblecom Jr. has done with the Steps of Faith Foundation, by helping cover the high cost of prosthetic limbs, which range from $10,000 to $100,000 without insurance, for amputees. After he lost his leg in 2005 to Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare type of cancerous tumor, Brimblecom Jr. didn't have insurance to help cover the cost for a replacement.
"I had somebody tell me after I lost my leg that 'You need to make sure that you process these emotions. It's unhealthy if you don't. You should mourn the loss of the loss of your leg like the loss of a loved one,'" he says. "You should not have to worry about (money) because you have to deal with something so unthinkable like losing a limb."
A drummer in the band Blackpool Lights, Brimbelcom Jr. was fortunate enough to have friends like then-"Saturday Night Live" newcomer Jason Sudeikis, who helped organize two concerts to raise money for his prosthetic limb.
"I'm so thankful to him. I've known Jason for 25 years. He's one of my best friends and he's always been a great friend and a really generous guy," Brimblecom Jr.
The generosity that people in Kansas City showed Brimblecom Jr. inspired him to create the Steps of Faith Foundation.
"If you have gone through what I've gone through and what these people have gone through — if you've lost a limb and what's keeping you from getting a prosthetic limb is just money, that's ridiculous. That's injustice and that's what we aim to fix," he says.
In 2017, Steps of Faith ended its year on a high note, with the success of its first "Thundergong!" event. It was the light at the end of what looked like a pretty dark year.
"At the beginning of last year, we had been in a position we had been in many times where it looked like we were going to run out of money," Brimblecom Jr. says. "Fortunately, due to some big donations that came at a very important time from Jason and people I had to go ask and a couple of board members, things really turned around at the hump."
That the show has gotten to the point where it can book acts like Chance The Rapper, the 25-year-old hip-hop artist known who normally sells out arenas and outdoor venues, is amazing to Brimblecom Jr.
"It's all just extreme joy and relief and thankfulness. It's just incredible," he says.
It's a show that Brimblecom Jr. said he could never imagine happening, with such huge acts helping shine a light into the darkest of times for some people.
"So many of the folks that we're helping ... Some of them go years without a prosthetic leg because it's so much to navigate," Brimblecom Jr. says. "I'm proud to say we've turned those scenarios around for them."
Tickets are $65 to $75, as well as sponsorship opportunities that include VIP tickets, free food and drinks and acknowledgement are available at https://thundergong.org.
To donate to the Steps of Faith Foundation, visit https://stepsoffaith.kindful.com.