Pam Tillis, ‘American Pickers’ star lend talent to cancer fundraiser

Masks created for individuals undergoing radiation therapy. (Vanderbilt University)

Legendary entertainer and songwriter Pam Tillis will serve as honorary host and speaker for the first annual Nashville fundraiser for head and neck cancer patients. “A Night of Courage Unmasked,” to be held Saturday, Sept. 27, at special event and arts venue OZ, will feature decorative artwork by Tennessee artisans who take the stark plastic masks worn by head and neck cancer patients during radiation therapy and transform them into striking and colorful works of art. Nearly 80,000 Americans are diagnosed with head and neck cancers every year.

Approximately 60 decorated masks will be displayed and auctioned during the fundraiser. Mike Wolfe, creator and co-star of the History Channel’s American Pickers TV series, and Paul Polycarpou, editor and CEO of Nashville Arts Magazine, will serve as celebrity auctioneers.

The Nashville art show and fundraiser, sponsored by Courage Unmasked Tennessee in cooperation with Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, represents the first time a Courage Unmasked event has been held outside of Washington, D.C.

Radiation therapy is one of the standard treatments for this form of cancer. Prior to therapy, each patient must be fitted for a personalized mask, a plastic mesh contraption that is heated and pulled tightly over the patient’s face to capture the contours of the head and facial features. The mold is then cured until it hardens. The mask is used during each radiation treatment to ensure that the radiation beam is targeting the cancer while sparing healthy tissue nearby.

Nashville head and neck cancer patients donated the personalized masks that will be decorated and auctioned for the fundraiser.

For more information or to order tickets for “A Night of Courage Unmasked,” visit