When Don Amero was scheduling his latest concert, it was intended to celebrate a successful year.
But then he got a call from Calvin Wood. Wood's daughter, Elena Robertson Wood, is 10 years old. She was in a coma the first two years of her life, has had three open heart surgeries, and recently had a stroke.
Elena Wood needs a wheelchair to get around and the family is trying to raise money to buy a van that can be adapted to accommodate it.
Don Amero with his son Oscar (courtesy Don Amero)
In a small way, Amero says he could relate to the Wood family's story.
"When my son was born, I cried for the first two months. My wife had been
in hospital after he was born, not able to get on her feet so it was a
really tough go. Here we are a year and a half later, my son Oscar is
healthy, and my wife Pam is doing well."
Amero wanted to help so he decided to turn his June 15th concert at The Forks into a fundraiser for the Wood family.
"I want to challenge 1000 Winnipeggers to show up and drop $20 in the bucket for the family. We decided to make it about
Elena this week and I want people to come and celebrate with me. At the
same time if people are able to give a little bit I know it'll go a long
In an interview with CBC, Calvin Wood explains his daughter was kept in the hospital for the first two years of her life because her throat didn't
develop properly. She'd try to pull out the tubes and wires that allowed her to breathe, so she was kept
in a hospital-induced coma.
Her last open heart surgery was when she was four, and in March, she had a stroke. But Calvin Wood says his daughter's strength has come back.
"She's back to scootching on the floor," he says. "'Cause she's
never walked and she doesn't talk, but I put her on the ground, and put
her helmet on and she scoots all over the apartment. She loves it, she
likes being free.
"She's a very happy girl, she's kinda bossy. One of her favourite
things is ripping paper. We have many toys for her but she finds a piece
of paper and starts ripping it up into shreds. If she gets upset or something just give her a piece of paper and she calms down."
Don Amero is quick to point out that people are welcome to come even if they can't afford to offer financial support. "The big thing is that if people feel they can't give anything, I want them to feel comfortable to come and meet Elena. Just having people behind you, showing support, really does show the spirit of the city." Don Amero and friends, including JC Campbell, Tracy Bone, William Prince, Red Moon Road and Indian City will perform June 15th at The Forks at 7:00-10:30 pm. Weather permitting, they will be at Oodena Circle or under the canopy if it happens to be raining.