What is success? It means different things to different people. To Jack, after a lot of patience it meant he got to go to Sabaton. He saw them live performing and those few minutes mean so, so very much. He’s been to a gig, something so easy, so taken for granted by so many of us.
He’s a wonderful bundle of excitement and it’s not long before we head off to the
arena where he knows he’s going to meet Jay Weinberg, his hero. Mum, Leanne, is
almost as excited and then the call comes that it’s time to meet Jay.
Saturday 13 February was a pretty damn good day for Declan as he went to his first gig, Slipknot at the Leeds Arena. He met Corey Taylor. His mum baked Corey a talking cake. And he ended up on stage with Corey. Declan is 17 and has learning difficulties, so when we received an application for him to see Slipknot, it was easy for us to say yes, to give something to put a smile on his face.
We picked Steven and his family up from the airport the day before the show and took him to his hotel. The staff knew about Steven and he was welcomed as a VIP, then a chessboard was delivered to him in person in his room as they may have known he had a soft spot for cheese. Later a conversation about dinner led us to a wonderful restaurant where Steven was again treated as an important guest - which he was.
Plenty of smiles. Honest to god smiles of happiness, music transporting Anthony to a freer place, a place away from the creeping claws of depression. Smiling with his girlfriend, and mum to their five year old son, Heather. Rocking, laughing, fists and horns thrown in the air. Music, guitars, drums, safety, freedom.
Nicky sent us a message after she got back to the UK thanking us for the best day of her life. Nicky, we hope there will be many more best days of your life, that your freedom takes flight catching the sweetest of breezes dances you into living, living, living freer than you could ever have imagined.
We arrive at the venue knowing some magic is in the air...but how much magic? Thanks to Andy’s dad, Chris, the magic was abundant and it starts with Andy saying hi to Ellie and telling her...’I’ve been seeing the hashtag all day.’ The hashtag #BecauseEllieMatters.
From the moment the wonderful group of Polish Pearl Jam fans raised funds for GTL by donating proceeds of tshirts to Ewa’s walk and Veronika was nominated to receive a GTL show there have been countless messages of support and good wishes. Messages understanding that going to a show isn’t easy for everyone, messages honouring her journey. And so many of these written messages came to life in Krakow as people stopped by to say hi, people local and travelling fans who knew Veronika’s story.
Pearl Jam was the beating heart that pumped through their three days in Boston, Fenway Park the pulse, friendship wrapped tight around both of their bodies from the moment they left home until they landed. Old friends flew in simply to be with them, others changed plans to be at their show with them, new friends were made.
The Best For The Two Of You.
Smiles as wide as the capital’s ancient river bathed the faces of Tyler and Frankie, eyes sparkling with joy and wonder as bright as the Foo Fighters closing fireworks. Their day coming towards an end as the next step was the journey home, exhausted and full of joy and wonder.
Lady Gaga comes onstage and for over two hours gives Rinke music and so much more. So very much more. Lady G talks about feeling different, how if you do feel different you're not alone even if that's how it feels. She sings, dances, plays solo. Rinke beams, lights up. Someone she looks up to says it's ok to be different and this speaks to Rinke.
Corey had one more surprise in store for Tom, he'd be watching the show from side stage. Right there when the band walks on stage, right there each time Corey came to him during the show. Right there. Seeing Tom smile, singalong, move to his favourite band after all he's been through and the challenges he faces daily was special. By his side all night was mum, Amanda. Watching him, loving him, joining in and smiling wide throughout at the sight of her Tom alive with joy.
Sophie spent the rest of the evening singing and dancing. And smiling. Sister Samantha said at the end she'd never seen Sophie smile or dance so much, ever. The best night ever, was how Sophie described her night the next day wearing a Frank Turner hoodie with her TFB tee tucked away; thank you to our wonderful tee shirt fairy for donating specifically for Sophie to have extra merch. A night that was made even more special when Sophie got to meet Ciaran of TFB during Blink's set.
It was a long wait for a young man to see his favourite band. From the moment Given To Live was able to say yes thanks to the generous fundraising by the Better Than Nothing group until the moment Jake woke up on Sunday was ages. Waiting for our favourite things can be tricky, even trickier when we're kids. But Sunday did arrive and Jake was going to Metallica! The waiting was over and all the excitement that had been building had a place to go. Soldier Field, Chicago.
Food was next. Then Robbie! Robbie, the whole reason we were here. He already had his poster that Rosie created for him which rendered him speechless until he said with such wonder...no one has made me a Robbie William poster before...with my name on. Robbie brought huge smiles to Quinn's face and in a blur the show was over but not before great memories had been made.
Under the loving gaze of a mum who watched him go through chemo, saw him wanting to give up, saw him suffer severe, heartbreaking reactions to the drugs, Adam smiled, laughed, cried, punched the air and filled Cardiff with a celebration of life. His life.Before and after the Cardiff show...'this is the best day of my life'. Before and after London...'this is the best week of my life.'
When your daughter is having treatment for a rare form of cancer the last thing you expect is a night out seeing an artist you've dreamed of seeing but somehow never had.
Last week Given To Live took Jamie to see Eddie Vedder and the evening before whilst making arrangements over the phone that's exactly what Jamie said. It was a dream come true.
For Harry normal is being fed overnight by tube since birth, being in a chair every day, dealing with discomfort every day. And loving Ed Sheeran. Like seriously loving Ed Sheeran! Harry took us on an adventure. An adventure of simplicity, of joy, of wonder. The simple pleasure of music that can transport any of us to a place we feel peace, alive, in love with life. That place shone in Harry's eyes so brightly, so clearly.