Thank you Michael and Sara Agah Franti and Do It for the Love Foundation! Last night I saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band–something I haven’t done in about 25 years and something I would likely not have done had you not provided me tickets. You did indeed inspire joy, hope and lasting celebratory memories. Thank you so much.
I am a Michael Franti & Spearhead fan. I think I first heard his songs on YouTube, when he sang with the PS 22 chorus in NYC. I have shared “I’m Alive” , “Life is Better With You” and “Say Hey (I Love You)” with many friends–the joy and love shine through these performances. As Michael explained to his friends at PS 22, he grew up singing in church–his mother was the pianist, organist and choir director. He didn’t enjoy it (“the songs were really boring”) and often just mouthed the words. He started his own band in high school but his real enthusiasm, in those days, was playing basketball. Basketball brought him to the University of San Francisco where his dorm room was directly above the campus radio station and pretty much 24/7 bass lines thumping away. That inspired Michael to learn the bass and eventually start writing songs of his own.
In April 2013, Steve Dezember, an ALS patient, contacted Franti to request tickets. During the show, Michael invited Steven and his wife, Hope, onstage. Although Steve was barely able to move his body, he asked Hope to lift him out of his wheelchair. Wrapped in each other’s arms, they danced on stage in front of 20,000 fellow music fans.
That experience prompted Michael and his wife, Sara Agah Franti, an ER nurse, to create the Do It for the Love Foundation. The foundation grants live concert music wishes to people living with life-threatening illnesses, children with severe challenges and wounded veterans. I heard about the group from two Stage IV metastatic breast cancer friends who had seen Bon Jovi and Paul McCartney respectively.
I was a little skeptical–what would I have to do? Would there be a lot of paper work? The application process was streamlined and took only a few minutes. I assumed it would take months to hear anything–if I heard anything at all. So I was SHOCKED when hours later, Joyce Han, outreach assistant, emailed me to ask what show I hoped to attend.
Michael Franti and Spearhead are playing the Pacific Northwest and then head to Europe. But Bruce Springsteen was coming to Chicago–but the concert was only a few weeks away. I assumed it was too late–but I thought I might as well ask. Amazingly, the answer was, yes, we should be able to get tickets for you. Just prior to the concert, Joyce sent me the ticket pick up information. I admit that even as I approached the Will Call window, I remained dubious. Would they really have tickets for me?
And the seats! Wow. No Everest-like climb to the United Center’s highest peaks. We were in the 10th row of the 100 section. The first time I saw Bruce was at Soldier Field in 1985. I was three rows from the last row in the stadium…there were 69,800 people in front of me–and it was still a great show. In 2016, we were indoors at the United Center (“Thank God for air conditioning,” said Bruce) and I did not have to rely on the Jumbotron to see the band.
I don’t understand how a 66-year-old man can give a succession of concerts that go full throttle for 3.5 hours. Just watching him made me feel energized.
I was so pleased to share the experience with some of my family–how great that the people who have often accompanied me to appointments could join me for something so entertaining and fun. We will be talking about it for months to come–it was great.
I live with this disease every day (and every month, I see my oncologist.) This was just an awesome break in the routine.
Thanks again, Do It For the Love Foundation!