by robin leach
No greater love does a father have for his daughter, especially when she’s fighting a disease that could lead to an early death. Former Jersey Boys star Jeff Leibow gave up his starring role in the Paris Las Vegas musical so that he could launch a foundation to raise funds and awareness, and find a cure for the disorder that his daughter is battling.
Once again, Leibow has rounded up a cavalcade of Strip headliners in his fight against neurofibromatosis for his sixth annual NF Hope Concert at The Palazzo on Oct. 23. Proceeds benefit NF Network, an organization serving families and individuals suffering from the genetic disorder of the nervous system, which is characterized by tumors that grow on the body’s nerves, often without warning and knowledge of how many will grow. A portion of the proceeds also will benefit Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Since 2011, Leibow’s concerts have raised more than $350,000 for neurofibromatosis research and advocacy, and taught thousands about the disease.
How has the concert grown in six years?
The growth of the NF concerts can be easily summed up in the difference between the first year and our most recent. The first year, we sold 97 seats and raised about $6,000. Last year, we sold close to 600 seats and raised $93,000. So, that’s a great example of how much it’s grown. I love the way it’s grown; I love the way it’s being embraced by the community here.
Do doctors say there can be a cure for neurofibromatosis?
There’s no technology that could get us to a cure, but we are close. Soon there will be sequence testing that not only tell us you have NF, but what kind of NF, and they’ll be able to treat that specific kind with generic therapy.
But the first step is to get treatment because, right now, there are no NF-specific treatments, either. Until we get there, we can’t even help treat some of the symptoms that are specific to NF.
How do you describe Emma these days; not medically, but as a child of 7?
She is a free spirit. She is quite the fireball. I do not look forward to her teenage years. She’s honestly one of the most vivacious 7-year-olds that I’ve ever met. … She has a spirit that just transcends everything she goes through, and I am amazed how much it carries into her daily life.
She is rarely seen without a smile on her face unless she’s upset about being yelled at. But she’s a great little girl who has some spurious aspirations that impress me more and more every day.