And Here We Go......

Welcome everyone to my personal blog. I'm really looking forward to sharing all my insights with you, and I would love to hear your comments. Blogs are all about voicing your opinion, so let's look to do that as much as possible. ENJOY!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Concert For Life

In 1995, my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was only given 6-8 months to live. But his strength, will, and love for his family helped him survive 2 more years before he passed away in late 1997....I was only 8 years old. I have very few fond memories of my father, and it's sometimes hard to listen to my older siblings tell stories, laugh and tell their favorite memories of him because I know that I didn't get to spend as much time with him as they did. But every year, there is a time where I hear a lot of new stories from the many people whose lives my father touched....

In 2001, my older brother, Matt Wessel, was a senior in high school when he found out that one of his fellow classmates, Kate Pedersen, was diagnosed with cancer. Her classmates wanted to do something to support her fight, so they approached Matt with an idea. They asked if he would be willing to perform a benefit concert for the American Cancer Society in Kate's honor. Matt, who experiened the loss of our father from cancer 4 years earlier, agreed to perform. The concert was called "The Concert For Life."

The concert was held at St. Paul Apostle Church in Gurnee, Illionis, and it was so successful, that it has since then become an annual event. Since 2001, the concert has grown in size and in money raised. Each year, the concert touches the hearts of all those who attend. As the event continues to grow, more and more people will be moved by this special evening of music, love, and hope.

My brother Matt has continued to be the main performer since the concert's inception. While he understands that the concert was put together to support Kate and her fight against cancer, my family and I can see that the concert holds a much more personal meaning for him, and for all of my family. Every year, the concert is a time where Matt can open up his heart to the world and let everyone see the emotion he has felt since our father passed away 14 years ago. It's a time where Matt and my family can sit down, enjoy the inspirational music and reflect on the the father we lost too soon. And it's a time of rememberance, passion and hope.

The word has gotten out about the concert, and like I said, each year it continues to get bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Well, this year's Concert For Life was held last week on Sunday March 13, and the early total of money donated is $43,000 (which will continue to increase as receipts and funds are still being sent in). Overall, the Concert For Life has raised over $320,000, which has been donated to the American Cancer Society.

I guess what I'm trying to say through all of this is that, while the Concert For Life was started to benefit Kate Pedersen's fight against cancer and all those who are battling cancer, I believe my older brother wished to perform the concert as a tribute to my father, as well. While the money is being raised to support the American Cancer Society, Matt wanted it to be a time where our family could come together, reflect on our father, and share this time with each other. And for that, I cannot thank him enough....

"If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, we'd walk right up to Heaven and bring you home again..." - We miss you Dad and you will live on forever in our hearts....

1 comment:

  1. Mike-
    What a touching post. Thank you for sharing your story. The Concert For Life sounds like an amazing event for your family, as well as everyone else whose lives have been altered by having loved ones with cancer. It's very admirable that your brother has taken it upon himself to contribute to the event and make an impact on the fight against cancer. I appreciate the strength and closeness of your family. I can only hope your hard work in raising funds will lead to powerful results in the near future.