Years ago, I started designing websites for local musicians. The very first website I did was for a band called Hybrid. Steve Craven, Matt Ferrante, Tim Henry, and John Couslin made up that band. Through the years I’ve followed the scene while these group of men have moved on to different bands. Steve and Matt have been in a few bands since those days, but one thing that has remained constant is that they give back to the scene and community through their Rock for Life concert series. The mission of Rock for Life is to provide financial support to needy individuals residing in Western PA who are suffering from life threatening diseases. Rock for Life sponsors music festivals and other music-related and general fundraising events to raise the monies necessary to support its purpose.
Over the years, I have taken probably thousands of photos at various Rock for Life concerts. I’ve updated their websites, facebook, twitter, & more. I consider what I do a small cog in the machine that has done so much good for going on 16 years now.
I didn’t realize how much these concerts, these people, these fans actually affect the benefactors of the series until this past year. The 15th year benefited, Alicia Hruby, a student of mine. She has defied the odds and has gotten her liver transplant. Her life is starting to turn back to “normalcy”. What really makes me be proud of Rock for Life, not just the concerts and the people behind it, are the people in the fields and in the venues. Don’t get me wrong the people on the stage, playing for free, who are bringing the crowds in to support the cause are awesome people, but it is the people in the field throwing their hands in the air, head banging, listening that I’m writing about today.
The last few Rock for Life recipients have started calling the fans & band members their Rock for Life Family. There is a reason for this. These people who come together to have some fun, help out a cause, and listen to some of the best unsigned music in the area do something else. They actually do SUPPORT the family and children that Rock for Life strive to help. They help them not just monetarily through their support of the concert series, but also through keeping up with the children and family through social media, visiting them in the hospital, sending them get well cards, praying for them, and just about anything else you would expect from family.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every single person that has ever had anything to do with Rock for Life.
I always thought the word, “family”, meant you had to be related by blood. I’m finding that to be only half true. My parents, sister, and I had somewhat of a normal life with parents working, Alicia and I going to school, dance classes after, and swimming with friends in the summer. Then something happened that changed our “normal” lives forever. We found out my little sister was very ill with multiple complications, and after many tests in just a few years, found out she would need a new liver. School days, dance, and going to the pool turned to hospital stays for her. A place a teenage girl should not be. This isn’t the end to the story though, not even close. Through what seemed like an awful journey for us, we met the most loving, spectacular, kind-hearted people I could ever dream of knowing! People in our lives, in our community, were coming together to support us. One person in particular was mine and Alicia’s middle school science teacher, Bill Domiano. He had mentioned about a benefit where a bunch of people get together and put on rock shows to raise money and my sister would be the recipient for that year. We accepted. We attended, and couldn’t stop at one show. Our family expanded so much from that day on. We had just met them, and it seems like we had known them for a lifetime. You see, “family” means more than blood. Way more. It involves love and caring for one another. We have laughed and cried together. THEY are our FAMILY now, and we are theirs. I can’t thank the Rock for Life community enough and everyone involved.
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