Photo by Amy Hall, The Studio, El Dorado
By Kristin Bogner
Radio personality Amy Brown is no stranger to giving back, and she wants people to know that even one small act can make a large difference.
“That can have a domino effect, which turns into the grandiose effect you wanted in the first place,” she said.
Brown’s latest “small act,” traveling from Nashville to small-town Kansas to host “An Evening with Amy Brown” on Friday, raised funds for Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Center. Nearly 800 ticket holders listened captively as Brown conversed on stage with her friend and Susan B. Allen Hospital Foundation’s executive director, Chase Locke, in USD 490’s new Performing Arts Center.
“I want people to walk away inspired in some way,” she said before the event began. “I wouldn’t want people to walk away not feeling motivated to make a difference, even in a small way.”
Nearly 5 million listeners hear Brown — co-host of iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated country morning show, The Bobby Bones Show — share her stories on the radio each morning alongside Bones and Lunchbox. But Friday was the first time Brown served as the solo draw for fans to listen to her speak in person, and attendees were in for a treat.
During a two-hour, undeniably candid conversation, Brown shared insider information about her life. Digging into tough topics ranging from her mother’s battle with cancer to the lengthy and often frustrating process of adopting her two children from Haiti, Brown seemed to hold nothing back.
She shared how she graduated from college five years late because of one three-hour correspondence course, the painful struggle she experienced with her parents’ divorce and her mother’s death, and even details about her journey with infertility.
Audience members shed tears as Brown related to a pair of sisters in the audience who are experiencing their own struggle with a parent’s cancer battle. Attendees laughed as she facetimed her father, who is currently fighting cancer, and teased him about his “soul patch.”
Brown said she liked Wichita as the location for her first foray into solo events because Wichita was the first market The Bobby Bones Show syndicated to out of its city of origination, Austin, Texas.
“I love Wichita, and I feel like we’re forever connected,” she said. “Y’all took a shot on us, and it worked out.”
Some of the most touching moments from the evening centered around discussion about cancer, which was fitting considering the fundraiser’s beneficiary. Brown’s mother’s battle with cancer inspired the #PimpinJoy clothing line, produced by The Shop Forward, an organization that raises charitable funds through apparel sales.
Brown shared how one evening her mother’s prayer in a hospital chapel sparked a movement that has now benefitted countless cancer patients with millons of dollars raised.
“She just said, ‘Lord, use this cancer for good,’” Brown shared with the crowd. “Her prayer was so selfless. I learned a lot from that.”
The Shop Forward pop-up shop was before and after Friday’s event, with favorite items including #PimpinJoy apparel and 4 Things Custom Tote bags through a line called Espwa, which benefits those in need in Haiti.
The 4 Things Totes are available for personalization to include a person’s four favorite things, which inspired the title for Brown’s latest venture, a podcast called “4 Things with Amy Brown” with Nashville’s Podcast Network. Each Thursday on a new episode of the podcast Brown discusses four topics.
“It ranges from interviews, health and fitness tips, fashion, beauty, mom stuff, adoption, all the things,” she said.
Brown’s openness and authenticity on her podcast and on the radio contribute to her popularity. Locke said it best at the close of the evening.
“By sharing,” he said, “you make us feel like we’re not alone.”