Sir Rod Stewart has written a cheque to help cover the costs of a road trip taken by a group of disabled children and their parents, who headed to Washington to protest proposed health care cuts.
The families, who travelled to the capital on bus from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, rely on government health insurance. However, the trip cost the group around $30,000, of which they’d only raised $7,000.
The organizer, Angela Lorio, whose four-year-old son, John Paul, suffers from severe disabilities, said she was “so nervous” as she boarded the bus heading to Washington. But her nerves were put at ease when a rock legend stepped in to save the day.
Stewart had seen CNN’s story about the families on an episode of “Erin Burnett OutFront,” where the program sadly ended with the parents failing to meet with their elected officials or the Republican National Committee. Devastated by what he’d watched, Stewart emailed his manager to see how he could help.
“I’ve just seen something on CNN that’s heartbreaking,” Stewart wrote in the email, as reported by CNN. “It was a group of families with severely disabled children who are driving to Washington to confront about health care cuts. See if you can find out who they are. I’d like to help in some way.”
Arnold Stiefel, the singer’s manager, told CNN: “He was so touched and heartbroken and actually teary. He said to me, ‘As a father of eight I have to do something now.'”
Stewart’s representatives made contact with Lorio and her friend Jessica Michot, co-founders of Trach Mommas of Louisiana — a charity that provides peer support and resources to parents and caregivers and individuals with a tracheostomy — and presented them with a cheque covering the remaining cost of the trip.
Lorio filmed herself depositing “the biggest cheque of her life” on Monday. “We love you, Rod,” she said. “Thank you so, so much!”
On Tuesday, Stewart ended his concert at the PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey with a video tribute to the families. “Some of you may know that I live in America and pay my taxes here,” the British rock star told the crowd. “I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but I am a father.”