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Cross country traveling to support charity worth every minute


The Parthenon

Published: Friday, November 16, 2012

Updated: Friday, November 16, 2012 02:11

On Nov. 10, I traveled to Los Angeles for the first time to witness an event very important to me. One of my favorite bands, Jack’s Mannequin, was scheduled to perform their last show on Nov. 11 at the El Rey Theatre.

The show acted as an annual benefit concert for the vocalist, Andrew McMahon’s charity, the Dear Jack Foundation. The Dear Jack Foundation was recently granted the status of a 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization, and in the six years since its inception has raised almost half a million dollars for research for young adult cancer.

McMahon himself was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL in early 2005, and has been cancer free for almost seven years. Jack’s Mannequin has been one of those bands with songs to get me through almost anything, and I look at McMahon as sort of a hero.

Getting the opportunity to witness his last show under this name with all profits going towards the foundation still seems surreal to me. People traveled from across the country for this event, I met people who traveled as far as Maine for the concert.

The date, Nov. 11, is very significant to the charity and the annual concert as well—it takes place on that day every year, because in one of McMahon’s earlier songs, he mentions the time 11:11.  This year, the concert itself raised more than $25,000 for the organization.

Throughout the night, McMahon told stories of his seven years with Jack’s Mannequin, and frequently told the crowd how much it meant to him that people came from near and far just to support him and his charity.

After the concert I got the amazing chance to meet the man behind the lyrics. People often say to never meet your heroes because you’re sure to be disappointed, but that is not the case with this man. He is as genuine as he seems, and he was genuinely happy to hear that I traveled more than 2,000 miles, on my first trip to California, just for him.

That concert was one of the most magical moments of my life, and Nov. 11, 2012 will be a night I never, ever forget.

Rachel Ford can be contacted at

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