Kids' rocker Ralph Covert and Ralph's World wants to make a difference for little Caleigh Taylor, her family and all of the other children and adults suffering from Mitochondrial disease.
A July 16 show, 11 a.m. on July 16 at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, will showcase songs from his eight Disney albums and the newest release on the Bar/None label, All Around Ralph's World.
Caleigh, her brother Callum and their mom Sally all have Mitochondrial disease, a progressive, debilitating and often fatal disease if diagnosed early in a child's life.
The Taylor family, who lives in Wheaton, met Covert through the nonprofit organization, Normal Moments, whose mission is to provide "normal moments" to families facing life-threatening health issues with a child.
Last summer, when Normal Moments hosted a birthday party for a little boy with leukemia who loved Ralph's World, Taylor's children quickly became "groupies." When Caleigh became very ill last fall, she was referred to palliative care where she received a book titled, "My Wishes."
In it, Caleigh repeatedly wished for Ralph's World.
"We had the opportunity to share Caleigh's passion for his music to Ralph Covert and he was incredibly touched," Taylor says.
So much so that he agreed to perform the benefit concert, with proceeds going to United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. Mitochondria are the little organelles in every cell in the body (other than red blood cells) that convert food and oxygen into energy. Organs requiring the most energy to function are the most significantly impacted by defective mitochondria, including the brain/nervous system and muscles. There are no effective treatments available.
While some adults and children live fairly normal lives, on the opposite end of the spectrum, other children are so severely affected they will not survive their teenage years
"I think it will be a very special day for Caleigh," says Covert, who had never heard of the disease until meeting the Taylor family. "And also a great chance for her family to spread the word about the illness as well as celebrate something very special to both Caleigh and her brother Callum."
Tickets for reserved seats are available at $20 for the balcony and $25 for the main floor. Doors open to the public at 10:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. concert and again at 1:30 p.m. for the 2 p.m. show. Tickets are available at the box office or by calling (630) 942-4000.
For more info on the concert or Mitochondrial disease, contact Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the Taylors' story in the upcoming summer issue of Chicago Special Parent.
Jerry Davich is a freelance writer and father of two living in the Chicago area.
See more of Jerry's stories here.