By O’Hara Shipe

For most Alaskans, the hunker down mandate began on March 17, but for Cody Herron-Webb, it started much earlier.

After being diagnosed with an Ameloblastoma—a rare kind of tumor that starts in your jaw—in October of 2019, Herron-Webb began mentally preparing for major surgery. The operation would remove a portion of the jaw as well as arteries and facial nerves. Additionally, a piece of his hip bone would have to be harvested to fill the removed bone from his jaw.

“Typically hitting something with 1 in a million odds would be a cause for celebration and not a joy crushing dread,” says Herron-Webb.

Fortunately, the surgery went well, and he was on the road to recovery when he hit a dangerous bump in the road. Over the course of a few days, Herron-Webb’s face began to swell, and soon his incision started to show signs of severe infection. He was admitted to Providence Hospital, where he underwent another major surgery to debride the wound.

When he woke up, he was being administered an intravenous antibacterial cocktail and was instructed by doctors not to speak as it would put a strain on his new incision. Two days later, he was outfitted with a feeding tube that would have to remain put for at least six weeks.

It was a harrowing medical odyssey that would have sidelined most people. But Herron-Webb is not most people. From his hospital bed, Herron-Webb continued to craft the weekly music e-newsletter that has become the bible for Alaskan music fans.

“I mean, it’s not like I had anything else to do,” Herron-Webb explains with a shrug.

Dubbed AK Concerts, Herron-Webb’s database of all live music events happening in the state, began as a way for the self-proclaimed super fan to keep his schedule straight.

“At the time, I was juggling a few jobs, so I would use spreadsheets to keep myself organized and to make sure I could hit as much live music as possible,” he says.

Before long, Herron-Webb’s spreadsheets were being shared with an increasingly large group of people.

“It was so easy to miss events because you didn’t know they were happening. Too often, I was finding out about concerts after seeing photos on Facebook and Instagram,” says Herron-Webb.

Determined to create a better way to get the word out about upcoming events, Herron-Webb launched the first iteration of the AK Concerts website in March 2018. Since then, AK Concerts has grown to include a weekly e-newsletter and a weekly column in the Press. It’s also developed a sizeable social media following.

A testament to the popularity of the website, Herron-Webb had to assuage a distressed following after an April Fools Facebook post jokingly declared the end of AK Concerts.

“Honestly, I don’t think I am ever going to give it up. Mostly because I’m too stubborn,” he says.

As Herron-Webb has already proven, not even a life-threatening infection can stop him from promoting Alaska’s vibrant music scene.

To stay in the know, subscribe to AK Concert’s weekly newsletters at AKConcerts.com.

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