Have you ever met a celebrity who talked to you like a real person? How about one who carried on a real conversation with you - not just real, but one with substance? I have. A few weeks ago I met five of them.
The members of Of a Revolution (O.A.R.) - Marc Roberge, Jerry DePizzo, Benj Gershman, Richie On, and Chris Culos - are all normal guys. Oh, excuse me. I meant abnormal - in the best way possible, that is.
Rock Against Cancer was lucky enough to receive tickets for a few young cancer patients and friends for O.A.R.’s show in Raleigh, N.C. August 10 with Citizen Cope. Not only did they give us good seats at the new Raleigh Amphitheater, the band also met with us backstage for thirty minutes before the show. They signed posters for us, gave us t-shirts, chatted and took pictures with us.
The guys were down-to-earth, talkative, and genuine. They were genuinely interested in each kid. Not only that, they were genuinely interested in and appreciative of the work done by Rock Against Cancer.
Unfortunately, some of the kids that were supposed to attend the concert last night had unusually low blood counts and were told at the last minute that they could not go. O.A.R. saxophonist Jerry DePizzo wrote a personal note on a poster for each of those kids to the tune of “We’re so sorry we missed you. Stay strong!” Did I mention that he asks for each of their names as well so that it could be personalized? All the band members signed the posters and gave them to Lisa to deliver to the hospital.
In a long conversation with bassist Benj Gershman, he asked me how RAC got started. As I explained it all to him, he was fascinated. Not to say that I was assuming celebrities would not show care for children battling cancer, but I did not expect it to be this amazing Benj said he definitely wanted to visit pediatric oncology treatment centers next time O.A.R. was in the area. He asked me to take down his manager’s information so that we could stay in contact.
When I told frontman Marc Roberge about my brain bout with brain cancer, he did not hide the surprise on his face. He told me that it was inspiring that someone my age could go through so much. We then just agreed on the fact that everything in this world is a gift.
Before we headed back to our seats for the show, drummer Chris Culos, who had let us play with his dog earlier, gave each of us a set of drumsticks. I still can’t believe it.
The best part of the night? Seeing the excitement on all of the faces filling up the reserved RAC seats when the band personally shouted out to us. Marc said something like, “WE MET SOME GREAT PEOPLE TODAY. TUCKER, RAYSHAWN, MARCUS... THERE IS AN AWESOME ORGANIZATION CALLED ROCK AGAINST CANCER. GO TO THEIR WEBSITE ROCKAGAINSTCANCER.ORG AND SEE HOW YOU CAN HELP!”
Wow. Just wow. These guys get it. They understand the hardships that come to a family when their child is diagnosed with cancer. And they’re helping RAC “make music a part of the cure.” I have so much respect and gratitude for O.A.R. after that night. A tip of the hat to you, gentlemen. You gave some kids an experience of a lifetime that they will never forget.