Jesse Brown is more into rock than country music, so when Karen Lee Batten sang at a fundraiser for the hit and run survivor and his family on the weekend, the country music star covered some of the 13-year-old’s favourite rock tunes.
“She’s just the sweetest person,” enthused Kristy Sayers, one of the organizers.
Held at the Oak and Thorne neighbourhood public house in Langley on Sunday, March 1, the “Country and Community for Jesse B” show drew close to 300 people, including Jesse and his family.
Top country acts like Batten, Rod Black, Jet Black Stare, Kadooh, Aaron Prichett and his son Jordan, with band Cross Parallell, donated their time and talent, raising $13,500 for the family.
Mom Lisa Brown said the performers took time to have one-on-one chats with Jesse, whose taste in music may have expanded as a result.
“He did actually quite enjoy the [country] music,” Lisa related.
On behalf of Jesse and his family, she issued heartfelt thanks to the organizers of the event and the performers.
“They’re all super amazing,” Lisa enthused.
“Everybody had so much fun.”
“It was so good,” agreed Sayers, who is president of the Peterson Road Elementary Parent Advisory Council (PAC), at the school Jesse attended.
People are already suggesting they should hold another, Sayers said.
The event was organized by Sayers Contracting, Versa Homes and Joseph Richards Group, who happened to have people who know the artists, who agreed to play for free.
Jesse recently returned to school after undergoing several months of physical therapy.
“He’s doing pretty good,” his mom reported.
It was a phased-in return that gradually built up Jesse’s attendance until this week, when he attended his first five-day-week of classes.
Jesse has taken up wheelchair basketball and plays once a week, and the family is preparing to modify their house to better accommodate his wheelchair.
“It’s a little tight for him,” Mom commented.
Jesse suffered multiple broken bones in his face, a broken arm, and fractures to his back on Sept. 13 when he was struck walking home from Peterson Road Elementary.
He was in surgery for 11 hours.
A gofundme page set up by Katrina Quinn, the parent advisory council’s vice-president, describes the injuries as “life-altering,” including the loss of several teeth, vision in one eye and loss of feeling and movement in both legs that have confined him to a wheelchair
So far “Supporting Jesse Brown’s Recovery” has raised $19,000 toward a goal of $100,000.
After the vehicle involved fled the scene, police arrested a 29-year-old woman and issued her with an administrative driving prohibition.
Langley RCMP reported the suspect at first refused when she was given a demand for a breath sample, then changed her mind later in the evening and blew over the legal blood alcohol limit.
Additional charges are expected.
A male passenger in the vehicle was also arrested, for allegedly attempting to hide the car.
Police said the same vehicle, believed to be a Nissan Pathfinder, also struck an 18-year-old near Langley Secondary School the same afternoon.
That victim required medical care but was treated and released from the hospital the same day.