IF YOU GO

What: Metal Heads Against MS show and poker run.

When: Starting at noon Saturday, Aug. 3. Metal concert starts at 6 p.m. at the V.F.W. hall, 1550 Main Ave. in Durango.

Where: Multiple locations in Durango.

Where: Location goes here

More info: $4 for the poker run. $3 for the concert.

Farmington — Hank Haven, the former bass player for Farmington-based metal band Signal 99, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a little more than a year ago.

"There's always questions of why," said his brother, Chuck Haven. "Why was he diagnosed? Why is there no cure?"

Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system. The damage affects the nervous system's ability to properly function, leading to a range of symptoms.

After Hank's diagnosis, Chuck Haven decided to start Metal Heads Against MS, which is an organization dedicated to raising awareness about multiple sclerosis.

Chuck and Hank Haven began playing together in 2005. The band traveled frequently and built a large fan base throughout the southwestern U.S. And after Hank Haven's diagnosis the band decided to use that fan base to help raise awareness about multiple sclerosis.

"It's a good way to push a positive message," Chuck Haven said.

On Aug. 3, Metal Heads Against MS will host a show and a poker run in Durango, Colo. The poker run starts at noon at Cole's Chop Shop, 2497 Main Ave. The run will have stops as far away as Ignacio and Bayfield, both in Colorado, before finishing at Durango's Veterans of Foreign Wars, 1550 Main Ave. Participation in the poker run is $4.

Shortly after the last biker finishes the run, there will be a silent auction. Included in the auction are items and gift certificates from stores like Blue Tiger Tattoo, Dancing Willow Herbs and Beads and Beyond.

The concert portion of the evening will feature Signal 99 and other metal bands, Morbid Justice, Obsolete, Skull Theory and Under Exile. Concert tickets are $3.

All proceeds from the event will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for research.

Through his work with Metal Heads Against MS, Chuck Haven has realized that there is a community of people with multiple sclerosis. He hadn't even realized that his friend and a musician in another band, Darryl Riddle, had the disease. Chuck Haven said Riddle and Hank Haven have been able to connect more since learning that they shared the same condition.

Hank Haven's condition eventually worsened, and he stopped playing with Signal 99 in April. However, he was able to make an appearance at the SunRay Showcase Music Awards in June to play with the band.

"Every day is different for people with MS," Chuck Haven said.

Sometimes Hank Haven has good days, but other times are rough. Chuck Haven said it is frustrating for him because he feels helpless, like there's nothing he can do to help his brother.

Heidi Lewis, the co-owner of Durango-based MBA Promotions, first met Chuck and Hank Haven when her husband's band performed alongside Signal 99. Her company helped organize Metal Heads Against MS.

"We all know someone who's been stricken with these things," Lewis said.

Lewis said she hopes the show can help break some of the stereotypes surrounding metal music.

"We want to show the world that metal heads have hearts, too," Lewis said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.