CAMPBELLFORD – Children’s entertainer Andrew “Too Tall” Queen is getting ready for his fourth annual Family Day concert. The first fundraisers were in support of the Kennedy Park Revitalization and the last two years they have been raising funds for the Isaac Foundation.
Andrew McFadyen from Campbellford is the father of eight-year old Isaac, who has a rare enzyme deficiency disease called MPS VI (Maroteaux Lamy Syndrome). He started the Isaac Foundation to support research into ground-breaking treatments, potential cures and also to increase public awareness. There are approximately 10 cases in Canada and 1,100 worldwide. Symptoms of the disease include: stiffening of joints, spinal cord compression, stunted growth, heart and airway disease and a shortened life span. There is no cure at the moment but there is treatment called Naglazyme. It is an Enzyme Replacement Therapy that is designed to provide patients with a synthetic version of the enzyme they are lacking. It is a very expensive and is only available to Canadian patients through the federal government’s Special Access Program.
McFadyen said “We’re touched that Andrew and Karen (his wife) have decided to support our organization again this year,” said McFadyen. “For us to find a cure for Isaac, it’s going to take help from many different people. To have the support of our community really goes a long way to helping us reach our dream of finding a cure.”
Last year’s concert raised around $1,000, a number Queen hopes to surpass this year. The theme for this year’s concert is “Celebrate Friendship and Stand Tall.” The anti-bullying themed performance is really close to Queen’s heart as he remembers being teased as a child. Now as a parent, he can share his own experiences about bullying. Queen recently met fellow teacher and author Heather Rankin who wrote the book All It Takes is One Friend, which is illustrated by students at Earl Prentice Public School in Marmora. “Heather’s book really resonated with me and I shared it with my wife (Karen Stille). A couple of weeks later she had a beautiful new song in the works,” said Queen.
The songwriting duo was very happy with the song and sucessfully submitted it for a recording grant with FACTOR (Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Recordings). The song, a duet, is called It Just Takes One. Local singer Janet Jeffery rounds out the recording with her sweet and soulful vocals. Queen and Stille plan to release the single in the spring to coincide with the International Day of Pink on April 10.
“The message of the song is that each of us has the power to stop bullying by standing up and being a friend to someone in trouble,” said Queen. “When bystanders get involved, bullying usually stops within seconds.”
Family Day is Monday, Feb. 18 and the show will begin at 2 p.m. at the Aron Theatre in Campbellford. Queen and Stille will be joined on stage by Luke Mercier on fiddle and Tim Hadley on double bass. Special guests will include Janet Jeffery and, for the first time, a children’s chorus singing backup vocals. Everyone is encouraged to wear pink and/or purple for the event.
Tickets are now available at the Aron Theatre, Kerr’s Corner Books and the Grindhouse Café. Advance tickets are recommended and cost $5 per person or $7 at the door. All proceeds will go to the Isaac Foundation in support of Project One Million. For more information, call 705-632-1616 or visit www.andrewqueen.ca and www.theisaacfoundation.com