Change Happens….

Change happens…I get it…but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Six years ago my mom and I had a meeting with Dave at our local Starbucks.

When I met Dave I was nine years old and I was on crutches because I had dislocated my knee (again). We briefly talked about my latest injury and then started talking about Celebrate Virginia Live (CVL) and its benefactor Project 324.

Dave created Project 324 and wanted to talk to me about being involved. I told him how much music means to me. Throughout my medical journey music has been my constant. It cheers me up, it pushes me, it comforts me, and it inspires me. I enjoyed listening to him talk about his ideas for Project 324, and how he wanted to bring art and music together to enrich our local community and beyond. His dream quickly became mine, and I brought my mom along for the ride.

From the first day I stepped foot on the field at CVL, I was welcomed into the CVL family. Through the years, I went from being the little girl who introduced the National Anthem Singers and Young Marine Color Guard, to the young lady who was the face of Project 324 and an expert golf cart driver.

I have always loved lending my voice to my medical charities, especially Children’s Hospital Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network of Richmond. Through Project 324 I had an opportunity to blend my love of giving back to my medical community and the artist community.

CVL was my second home. There I was just “Megs” the Jr. Officer in Command. I was not Megan “who has medical challenges”. I was never seen as different. I was included in everything from setting up to shutting down and all the craziness in between. I have literally grown up on that field.

I learned so much from my CVL family. Each year I was included in more and more. My favorite was the community outreach. We held a Music Farm to collect used instruments to refurbish them and gave them back to the local schools, we sponsored music therapy camps for children who had lost a loved one, we upgraded patrons “to make someone’s summer”, we held logo contests, gave back to local schools, promoted local voice talent searches, but most importantly I loved working with the radio stations to promote local artists.

Project 324 provided a venue for local artists to showcase their talent. Project 324 gave opportunities to kids, teenagers, young adults, and community music group’s time on stage to sing our National Anthem.

Project 324 had an awesome internship program. Our interns have gone on to do some amazing things. They now hold jobs as event coordinators, community relations assistants, social media consultants and public relations.

This week has been bittersweet for me. CVL has been renamed to Celebrate Virginia After Hours (CVAH) and is under new management. Change is hard, but I am happy our community still has concerts in their back yard.

I will miss the joy and excitement of transforming a field into a concert venue. I will miss the anticipation as the gates open for that first show. I will miss the high fives and sighs of relief when the headliner takes the stage, but most of all I will miss my CVL family.

Dave, Peter, Nate, Dawn, Ray, Kelly, Emma, Ashleigh, Savannah, Hayley, Fran, (all the Matt’s), Christal, Jeremy, Edwin, Tiffany, Thunder Crew, DJ 2 Much, Sharon, WFLS, and everyone I have missed. Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for always being there. Thank you for never treating me different. Thank you for loving me and my family. Change may happen, but you will always be a constant in my life.

As Dave would say….the show must go on

As Peter would say….that’s a wrap

Love, Megs

Concerts and summer time = The Good Life!

The time is almost here. Tomorrow we kick off the 2014 concert season at Celebrate Virginia Live with Jamey Johnson. I am excited!!! We have amazing acts on the schedule.

6/14 – Montgomery Gentry

7/18 – Joe Nichols

7/19 – Thompson Square

8/1 – Dustin Lynch & Craig Campbell

8/23 – Alan Jackson

9/12 – Dierks Bentley

Project 324 will have a fun booth in Harmony Cove. I can’t wait to see all my friends. Make sure you stop and say “Hey! Megs in the Burg” we can even take a selfie.

I am sorry I have been neglecting my blog. School has been crazy and I cannot wait until it is over next Tuesday. I am ready to get this summer started.

Gates open tomorrow at 5:30. Remember to grab a blanket and bring a friend, neighbor, sibling, or cousin. You are not going to want to miss a minute of this season.

See you out there…

 

Megs

Happy 13th Birthday Megan!

Image

Megan,

I have hijacked your blog to wish you a very happy birthday. You have brought us so much happiness and joy over the years. Words cannot describe how much we love you. Watching you grow up has been fun and entertaining. You have been through so much in your short life and yet you face it all with courage and a smile.

Everyone that meets you loves the light that you bring into his or her life. You have such a big voice. You lend it to such great causes and you bring awareness to those around you.  You inspire me everyday.

I know you are excited to be a teenager. Enjoy these years have fun and make good choices. You star shines bright and you don’t just follow your dreams you run after them.

We love you,

Mom, Dad, and Alec

Bret Michaels IS something to believe in!

Image

I have been very fortunate in my role as Junior Officer in Command at Celebrate Virginia Live to meet some wonderful artists. I have enjoyed sharing their stories on my blog and how they have used their success to pay it forward.

Last night was one of the first times I actually became emotional when meeting an artist. When I met Bret Michaels I felt my eyes fill with water and a lump form in my throat. We have both been through similar things medically and just sharing that bond and talking about friends and family with diabetes overwhelmed me. I think if he had time we would have talked for hours. He gives big hugs that just make you feel comforted.

My mom summed it up and said, “He is truly genuine”. I had to ask her what that means. She explained that it means you believe in the message you are spreading and really care about the impact you are making and the people you are touching.

Every winter my Children’s Hospital /Children’s Miracle Network of Richmond holds a Radio-A-Thon. Last year Darius Rucker and The Band Perry gave me items to donate to the silent auction. I was thrilled when Bret Michaels signed a “Chance Dog” for this year’s event. Bret said he was touched I was thinking of others.

I know a lot of people think I am “lucky” because I attend all these concerts and stand on stage with the radio stations, but for me it is about bringing the community together. It’s about giving back and being thankful for all I have been through. I can bring awareness. I have a VOICE that needs to be HEARD!

That is why Project 324 is important to me. Project 324 is about bringing the arts and the community together. Giving kids a chance to live a dream by getting on stage and singing the National Anthem, or a local band getting a venue to showcase their music. Project 324 is about paying it forward. Giving those in our community a chance to use their talents to make a difference in the world. Helping a filmmaker finish that film, providing a scholarship for a child to take music lessons, sponsoring a sports team, or inviting local charities to spread their messages. Every person who comes out to a show is part of making a difference.

Rocking out an RV with Bret is still on my “Bucket List”, but I am not lucky I am blessed that I am part of a family at CVL that allows me to help pay if forward and promote the spirit of giving back to our community through Project 324. You are never too young to make a difference.

Love,

Megs

“How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment; we can start now, start slowly changing the world!” – Anne Frank (diary entry, 1944)

Look who is coming the the ‘burg – Trace Adkins

Image

I am looking forward to the Trace Adkins concert tomorrow night. The first time I heard “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” I just giggled.That song makes me want to dance. When my Pop Pop in Florida heard Trace was coming to Celebrate Virginia Live he was sad he could not be here. He is a HUGE fan. Not only does he love his music he enjoyed watching him on The Celebrity Apprentice. My Pop can no longer travel, but loves hearing about all my charity work and seeing the pictures.

I am dedicating this concert and blog post to him.

A year and half ago my Pop suffered a series of strokes and has had a long recovery. He is a fighter and that is where I get a lot of my determination. Both my grandma and pop have faced serious medical challenges. When I heard Trace’s new song ‘If The Sun Comes Up” from his new album Love Will, I cried. I could picture my grandma and pop saying those words to me. It is amazing how much a song can move you.

Last year when my brother was graduating high school, my mom must have listened to “You’re Gonna Miss This” and “Then They Do” a thousand times by Trace Adkins. It is because of her I have learned to listen and love all types of music.

In the song “If The Sun Comes Up” there is a line “Please find something you can put your heart into”. That line says it all. When you go through something traumatic in your life it changes you. Through my medical journey I found I had a voice to make a difference. I love bringing awareness to charities that speak to me. Trace Adkins feels the same way about the American Red Cross. When he lost his home to a fire, they were there for his family. He raised over $600,000 for the American Red Cross on the Celebrity Apprentice. This is why “Ladies Love Country Boys”.

I will see you tomorrow at Celebrate Virginia Live. Gates open at 5:30pm. I will be onstage to open the show with my friends from Thunder 104.5, Melanie Skahen singing the National Anthem and the Young Marines Color Guard. Cody Purvis will take the stage at 6:00pm. Make sure you bring a friend, neighbor, or family member. Tickets are available online or at Legends.

Love,

Megs

“Whether on stage, over the airwaves, or on film – Project 324 is about bringing the arts and the community together”

Dream Big…

I was excited to find out Scotty McCreery and I have a few things in common. He is from North Carolina; I have been to North Carolina. He toured with The Band Perry and I toured their tour bus. He sang on stage with Tim McGraw and I danced on stage with Tim McGraw. His dreams came true on American Idol, and I live a dream every weekend getting on stage at Celebrate Virginia Live.

Image

Seriously though…what I love about Scotty is we both are tenacious. Success at anything does not happen over night. You need to work hard. Scotty wanted to sing. He joined a vocal ensemble and performed at local events. He became the youngest winner of American Idol and has a Guinness World Records Book entry for being the youngest male to enter the U.S. album charts as number one.

I am not a quitter. I might have obstacles that prevent me from doing some things, but I find away to adapt and overcome. I have a tendency to wear down my doctors and eventually they allow me to try things with modifications.

I have lots of dreams. I want to be an actress, model, singer, talk show host, CIA Agent, and veterinarian. The most important thing is to be determined and dedicated. Follow those dreams.

For the last couple of weeks we have showcased a child singer each week at CVL to perform the National Anthem. This is one of the hardest songs to sing live. These kids have a dream. They want to be performing on stage one day professionally. Through Project 324 we give them an opportunity to experience singing on stage in front of a crowd. Hopefully that moment will drive the passion for them to keep working towards their dreams. You never know they could someday be the next “American Idol”.

Never let go of your dreams, even if they don’t come easy. Work hard and be determined. It will be worth it in the end.

I can’t wait to welcome Scotty McCreery this weekend to Celebrate Virginia Live Pancho Villa Pavillion. I hope we get a chance to talk. Maybe he will allow me to take him for a spin on the golf cart. I have only run over a few toes. I am doing much better now. I should challenge him to a bull ride.

Image

I hope you will join me this weekend. We always have a great time. Tickets are available online and at Legends. Oh! and by the way…Legends makes a killer pasta primavera.

Love,

Megs

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

She is Strong Enough to make it look so EASY………

Image

Can I tell you how much I love researching and learning about the artists who are going to perform at Celebrate Virginia Live. Last year I would talk to my mom or dad and ask them to tell me what they knew about the different artists. This year I thought it would be more fun to do the research.

It amazes me what I find. Sheryl Crow was born in February. Hey! I was born in February. She is almost a heart baby like me, minus the heart surgery. She has acted and was athlete and a musician in high school. As my dad would say, “Why choose”. She was a backup singer for Michel Jackson. She wrote jingles for commercials. She loves anything with a drum beat. That is my secret obsession. I want to learn to play the drums. Well I guess it isn’t a secret anymore J

The more I read the more I realized music is a passion for Sheryl Crow, but so is her generosity. She is a mom, a breast cancer survivor, singer, activist, and a song writer. She has been involved in the Scleroderma Research Foundation since the 90s and participates in the Wounded Warriors Project. She was shocked when she found out she had breast cancer because she didn’t have a family history. Like me she has learned that medical problems do not discriminate. I think music and songs are a wonderful way to show how you are feeling. It is amazing how much emotion can go into them. I am not a song writer but I do understand as an actress.

As I get older I am required to have more mature monologues. I have this one that my mom loves to hear me perform because it is very intense, but it is very hard for me to perform. It is a scene from “My Sisters Keeper”.

I think it is hard because it hits to close to home. My brother has had to watch me most of my life go back and forth between doctors. While I am blessed I don’t require any of his body parts to survive, I know that watching me grow up with challenges has been hard. Those feelings come out in that monologue. That is why I admire artists who can put their life events into their songs and really bring out the creative emotion.

On July 12th, many will come out to listen to Sheryl Crow play those awesome award winning songs.  I am looking forward hearing her life experiences through her music.

Love,

Megs

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso