Concert will benefit family of cancer victim

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

SOS Outlet in Portales is hosting a concert to benefit the family of a 6-year-old Clovis girl who died of leukemia July 4.

Organizer and SOS Outlet manager Rocky Banda said admission to Music Fest would be any donation, even food gift certificates, to help Harley Pena’s family with medical, funeral and other expenses. Harley battled two forms of leukemia for well over a year and a half.

Although he doesn’t know the family personally, Banda heard about Harley’s death from mutual friends and wanted to help.

“I’m involved with Little League, and I have kids that age, and I know how hard that would be,” he said.

Harley’s mother, Salina Hernandez, said the family was happy about the concert and greatly appreciated it.

“I’m happy that there’s good people out there in the world,” she said.

Banda is contacting bands from a variety of music genres.

“There’s not going to be one focus,” he said of the music.

Metal groups Fifth Note Heavy and Changing Anew, country band The Roughriders, Latino hip-hop artists Unbreakable and rhythm and blues soloist Scott Handy have already agreed to participate. Banda said bands who wanted to donate their time in 30-minute sets could contact him.

Banda hopes to make Music Fest an annual event to benefit different people.

As for Harley, her mother remembers her as a normal, kind little girl.

“She was very caring and loving,” Hernandez said. “She was funny. She liked to sing. She liked to dance.”

Hernandez said her daughter was shy around new people, but after being around them, opened up and made everyone laugh and smile. The girl also loved Hannah Montana.

Harley attended kindergarten at La Casita Elementary for two months before getting sick.

“She loved school, but she couldn’t go,” Hernandez said.

Vivian Jimenez, a mutual friend of Banda and Hernandez’s family, said Harley touched everyone’s lives.

“She’s just a neat little girl,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez recalls Harley trying to comfort her parents, even after doctors sent her home because there was nothing more they could do for her.

Information and to donate: Banda at 356-8720 or SOS Outlet, P.O. Box 659, Portales, NM 88130.