"Small used to own our dealership and the dealership in Marietta," said Penny Golden, general manager of Harley-Davidson of Cartersville. "He was in the process of selling it to one of the employees and during that time he got esophageal cancer, stage four. ... What we're trying to do is we're trying to raise awareness of the symptoms of esophageal cancer because Earl was very near and dear to our hearts.
"... So [we are holding this event] in his memory because he would want people to know what the symptoms were, obviously, so they wouldn't have to go through what he did. It is a horrible, horrible cancer."
On Aug. 18, gates will open at 5 for the evening concert. After the Confederate Railroad takes the stage at 6 p.m., the Atlanta Rhythm Section and the Little River Band will follow at 7:30 and 9 p.m., respectively.
General admission tickets cost $18.50 in advance and $25 at the door. For $50, individuals can purchase "V.I.P. Experience" seats, which consist of a barbecue meal, beverages and table seating under a tent. The daylong event will begin at 9 a.m. with offerings such as live music provided by local bands, food, vendors and a bikini contest.
Along with the concert's proceeds benefiting the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association, there also will be physicians and ECAA representatives -- including Small's wife, Rhonda -- who will be sharing information about this disease.
"[Through this event] I hope they learn that men are more likely to get this, 4-to-1, over women and that over 40 is the mean age and the primary cause is acid reflux," said Rhonda Small, a ECAA board member. "So my goal is any person -- man or woman -- that has had chronic acid reflux or difficulty swallowing or feeling like food is getting caught or stuck, go to their doctors and at least get an endoscopy. ... Most people who have a difficult time swallowing or they have chronic acid reflux have no idea that they should be a little more assertive with their doctors and say, 'Hey, I've got this problem; can you do an endoscopy on me?' because an endoscopy is an invasive procedure. So it's not one that's likely to be done on someone unless you are presenting a red flag.
"... I just want to share that this cancer is the second-fastest growing cancer in this country right now only next to melanoma. And it's the second deadliest only next to pancreatic. When you get this cancer, unfortunately you're a lot like my husband, you already have difficulty swallowing or you're presenting symptoms and the survival rate once you are presenting symptoms is usually less than 10 to 15 percent. The odds are terrible."
For more information about esophageal cancer, visit ECAA's website at www.ecaware.org. Locally, tickets for The Earl Small Memorial Concert can be purchased in advance at Harley-Davidson of Cartersville or on www.rememberearl.com.