Through Electronic Saviors: Industrial Music to Cure Cancer, Jim Semonik has told his story of surviving colorectal cancer and raised more than $70,000 for cancer charities and research. On June 2, ASCRS presented him with the 2019 Local Hero Award at the 2019 ASCRS Annual Scientific Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.
“The ASCRS Local Hero Award recognizes people affected by colorectal disease whose advocacy or public outreach efforts have had a positive impact on their local communities,” said Dr. Sharon Stein, a colorectal surgeon and chair of the ASCRS Public Relations Committee. “Jim Semonik is a perfect example of this and we are very proud to present him with the award.”
After he was diagnosed with a deadly form of colorectal cancer in 2008, Semonik called on his network as a promoter and record store buyer to create the first compilation album in what is now a five-volume series. The subsequent volumes, titled Recurrence, Remission, Retaliation and Remembrance, reflect his experience living with cancer, being declared cancer-free and losing a friend to colorectal cancer. The proceeds from these albums have funded more than $70,000 in donations to various cancer-related charities and research teams including the Foundation for Cancer Research and Wellness, Gilda's Club Western Pennsylvania, The Bone Marrow Foundation, Cap for Kids and the colorectal surgery research department at the University of Pittsburgh.
“Thank you for recognizing me for my work with Electronic Saviors. Being able to bring the gift of music to so many across the world after being touched by cancer is an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. This project has touched the hearts of so many and has created memories not only for me but for all of the artists involved,” said Semonik.
Electronic Saviors has featured music from hundreds of artists from across the globe and is now accepting submissions for its sixth volume. Semonik now has his own label, Distortion Productions, which represents bands that have appeared on the albums. In addition to the five compilation albums, Electronic Saviors sells t-shirts, posters and a comic book with its own soundtrack through Distortion Productions. An inspiration to the industrial music community, Semonik was knighted on stage at the Coldwaves festival in Chicago in September 2018.
“Escaping the grasp of cancer has provided me with an opportunity not only to savor my remaining years but to have a soundtrack for it. It is truly an honor to receive this award and when I do reach the end, I can look back with a sense of fondness and great accomplishment. No regrets."
Watch Sir Jim Semonik’s Local Hero Video.