If you're a frequent Patch reader, you may have noticed that The Christopher Barron Live Life Foundation has a number of supporters. They are motivated by not only the cause: bringing Christopher’s love of life to others, and the Foundation’s flagship program, Christopher’s Comic Book Inspirations, which provides children in underserved communities a chance to be creatively engaged through a comic book writing, but Christopher himself, and the rather admirable perspective he gained in his short life. Some such supporters are presenting the Foundation with Liven' Life: “The Teenage Dream” Benefit Concert this Sunday, June 12 at Glen Rock High School.
“Although I was very young when Christopher was alive, I always had the impression that he was a very passionate and caring little guy,” Claire Gallo, a sophomore at Glen Rock High School, told Patch. “While most kids would cry and scream if they didn't get their way, Christopher would always flow with things and never argue. Christopher was always the kid walking around with a smile on his face.”
Gallo was 11 when 9-year-old Christopher, who was friends with her own younger brother, died from leukemia, but her memories about that time are vivid—not just because Christopher died, but because of the way he faced his disease.
“He never once complained about missing a play date because he had to go to the hospital for treatment,” Gallo said. “He was a kid who knew what he had to do—and when I get tired or down, I remember his example and try to live by it.
He left behind a family so inspired by his demeanor that they decided to take something that brought him joy and use it to better the lives of other children.
“One thing I remember specifically was how Christopher's family responded,” Gallo reflected. “Even though they were going through the most devastating loss imaginable, they were very strong and spiritual. Mr. and Mrs. Barron were there for Christopher's younger brother, Ryan, and the whole family seemed to become closer because of the loss—that has always stayed with me, and it taught me to stay strong during tough times.”
Christopher would have been a teenager this year, which got Gallo thinking.
“I was at home doing my homework when my mom told me she had run into
[Suzanne Andora Barron, Christopher's mother and Foundation founder],”
Gallo learned that the Foundation was attempting to find ways to get teens involved with the Foundation.
“I then quickly came back with the idea of a benefit concert,” Gallo said. “In fact, I think I sent an email to Mrs. Barron that same night!”
“When Claire first approached me with the concert idea, I was so touched that she wanted to celebrate Christopher’s 13th birthday and his life in this way,” Andora Barron told Patch. “We are thrilled with all that Claire is doing—her creativity, dedication and resourcefulness is amazing and truly inspiring.”
“I found the most talented kids in the high school and asked them to perform—which, without exception, they all eagerly agreed to do,” Gallo said. “We also have reached out to many teenagers [asking them] to come and support such a worthy cause.”
Executing an idea of this magnitude isn’t a big stretch for the teenager, who is also the creator of “Teen Bridges,” program that matches teens with charities that need volunteers.
All proceeds from the concert will directly aid the Foundation and its projects, but the evening just may have a much larger and lasting effect on all those involved, whether performing or attending.
“After people leave the event, I hope they take away a sense of awareness of both the Foundation and Christopher himself,” Gallo said. “The mission of this Foundation, which hopes to instill Christopher's passions for life in other young people, is truly spectacular, and Christopher was such an amazing boy—I hope people will see that, and draw inspiration from it, just as I have from being involved in this amazing experience. I also hope that people will continue to support the Foundation and honor Christopher's memory in lots of special ways
in the future.”
“The Teenage Dream” will feature, among others, American Idol Top 40 contestant Alex Ryan and Danny Flaherty of MTV's Skins. Chris Kuiken and Kyle Bogert of the YouTube show KyleandChrisWazHere will host. The concert will take place in the Glen Rock High School Cafeteria from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Door prizes will be given, and refreshments from Smoothie King will be available for purchase; a portion of the proceeds will go back to the Foundation. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for adults.
For more information about The Christopher Barron Live Life Foundation, visit www.christopherbarronlivelife.org.