Musicians will rally to raise funds for Smithereens member, family

In response to Smithereens co-founder and lead guitarist Jim Babjak’s plea via Go Fund Me (https://www.gofundme.com/45hb4bjw), friend, fellow musician and Metuchen resident Danny Adlerman has organized a fundraiser to alleviate the financial burden Babjak and his family are bearing as Babjak’s wife, Betty, battles pancreatic cancer.

The Babjaks are residents of Manalapan.

Adlerman will be commandeering the regular monthly open microphone night he hosts and turning it into a night of music, spoken word and giving. The event will take place on Jan. 29 at the Old Franklin Schoolhouse in Metuchen, according to a press release.

In addition to regular performers, invitations have been extended beyond the local community to ensure an exceptional and eclectic mix of performances, according to the press release.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and while admission is free, there will be a suggested donation of $5 to enter and other opportunities to give through the sale of refreshments and a silent auction, featuring a Fender Stratocaster guitar autographed by Babjak.

Performances will continue until the last person on the signup sheet has had their chance.

“Through our musical collaboration I have not only become close friends with Jim and Betty, I have defined my musical career. Without Jim’s friendship, professional contributions and influence, Danny and Kim’s catalog would look vastly different today. The music might not even exist,” said Adlerman, referencing his success with his wife, Kim, as a children’s author and musician.

Betty Babjak was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2014. After 40 years together, Jim had to take a leave from work and stop playing with the band in November to be at his wife’s side. Betty has endured surgery only to learn the disease has spread and she is now undergoing chemotherapy, according to the press release.

“Every day I wake up and hope this is a bad dream. It is instead the new normal for us and our three sons,” Babjak said. “We are learning the true meaning of one day at a time. Betty is my soul mate. We can’t take the idea of growing old together for granted now. We have to fight this disease and win it. Nothing is more important than giving Betty my time and being with her in every way throughout this ordeal.”

It was only at the urging of fans and friends that the Babjaks finally allowed friend Victor Erlanger set up a Go Fund Me site to raise money.

To date they have raised about $51,000, but donations have slowed since the launch, according to the press release. As they watched the donations ebb, people like Danny and Kim Adlerman knew they had to find a way to keep the donations flowing.

“It may seem rudimentary to put on a show and pass a hat, but every dollar really does count. The beauty is in the simplicity,” Kim Adlerman said. “Come hear the music, toss in what you can and send your well wishes. This is one of those times that just showing up even for a short while to support them and the performers gathered on their behalf will mean as much, if not more, to Jim and Betty as your money.”

For more information, contact Metuchen’s Open Mic Night on Facebook or email info@dannyandkim.com