Tuesday evening, I learned that Andrew Gold had passed away. It was at the City of Peterborough Civic Awards where my 15-year-old son was being presented with the 2010 Male Youth Volunteer of the Year award that one of my friends sitting just a few seats over from us leaned over and shared the sad news.
What makes this particularly hard-hitting for Lewis and for me is that we had a personal connection with Andrew Gold back in June of 2009. Lewis was scheduled for a thymectomy that month and because of his health, things were going to be pretty touch-and-go according to his medical team. No one could tell us what the odds were that things would work out as well as could be expected. And Lewis, being all of 13 years old at the time was very aware of the many possible outcomes.
He set about creating a tribute video thanking those who supported him as he battled Myasthenia Gravis, an incurable life-threatening neuromuscular autoimmune disease that had left him so severely afflicted that he had oftentimes found himself being rushed to the local ER because his muscles were giving out and endangering his life.
Lewis asked me to please, please, please email Andrew Gold.
It was a simple email asking permission for Lewis to use his song “Thank You For Being A Friend” in a video he was creating for his classmates and people in his online and real life communities to thank them for being his friend. It was important to Lewis and to me that we respect Andrew Gold’s copyright, knowing that the song Lewis might have to be sidelined if the answer was no.
Within a few hours, Andrew Gold had written back. He gave Lewis permission to use his song in the video. With that, Lewis made sure that his video gave credit at the start to Andrew Gold for allowing him to use the song in his video. He was grateful that Andrew Gold had understood the importance of the video as well as the importance of using the right song to convey the message he wanted to share with others.
Lewis’ Tribute To His Friends with Andrew Gold’s song is found HERE.
And so, as we sat in the auditorium where the Civic Awards Ceremony was being held, having just been told that Andrew Gold had passed from cancer, I reflected on the man who had shown my son such kindness back in June of 2009 and the man my son himself was becoming.
Whether Andrew Gold knew it or not, his generosity had a positive impact on my son that he has carried with him in his humanitarianism and volunteerism. Each of us is shaped by life’s experiences and the experience Andrew Gold added to my son’s life was one that spoke of kindness, thoughtfulness and compassion.
My heart goes out to his wife, Leslie Kogan and his children, Emily , Victoria and Olivia, who is Lewis’ age.