Don’s Blog – March 29, 2012

I am frequently asked what motivated me to start the Julian Rock Memorial.  Many people lose loved ones and do not start charity events.

Losing Julian in 2005 was devastating.  Watching my wife suffering and not being able help made me feel even more helpless.  I became incredibly depressed and stopped taking care of my health.  On March 23, 2010, one of my organs failed and I was rushed to the hospital via ambulance where I nearly died in the ICU.  I would spend the next two months recovering physically and mentally.

It was during this recovery period that I realized I had never really dealt with the loss of Julian.  I decided I wanted to do something for charity in his name; however Julian had arthrogryposis, a rare congenital disorder without a well-known charity.  About this time, my hospital bills starting arriving, totaling over $250,000.  Fortunately, I had great insurance. However, I started thinking about those without insurance and the impact that having a child with a catastrophic pediatric disease would have on them.  We had been donating to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since Julian’s passing, mostly because of its name and the fact that it helps children. We learned that their mission was to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.  Most importantly, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.  I knew that my efforts would go to support St. Jude.

During my recovery, I rediscovered my love for music and started playing guitar again.  I also discovered this crazy, high-energy guitarist on YouTube, Phil X.  Phil’s passion was contagious and inspired me to pursue my enjoyment of the guitar and music.  I reached out to Phil and told him my story and asked for tips.  He provided many tips and encouraged me to create the Julian Rock Memorial and volunteered the first guitar for auction!  Obviously, Phil is an unbelievably talented guitarist, but he is also a very inspiring, kind human being and I will always be so grateful to him for believing in me.  It is no coincidence that I have met the most amazing people through Phil, people that deserve their own future blog entry.

Having chosen a charity and rediscovering my love of music and guitar, creating a Rock Auction made perfect sense.  I am very fortunate that rock icons have been so generous and donated to the Julian Rock Memorial allowing us to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

It’s a great feeling being able to help the children and families of St. Jude.  An unexpected benefit of the charity has been my ability to meet and bond with other parents that have suffered loss or hardships with their children.  I look forward to the continued growth of the charity and helping both groups.


  1. Patricia Moore
    March 29, 2012

    Good job with the site and blogs, you two are awesome! Looking forward to this years auction! Yay Team! Love ya both very much, if I can be of any help let me know!


  2. Stephanie Gaspari
    March 29, 2012

    Don, you and Becky are inspirations to many people. Me included. The kindness, generosity and love that comes out of you two brings a smile to my face. You are not only helping sick children and their parents, but helping parents be better parents of perfectly healthy kids. At least, that is how it’s working for me. Thanks for doing all you do, and for putting yourself out there to complete strangers. Keep up the great work you are doing, and God Bless the Thorvund family. xo

  3. Melanie
    March 29, 2012

    Great Blog Don…..Really hoping your Memorial is a huge success..much love to you, Becky & Gunnar.

  4. Angel Ramirez
    March 29, 2012

    What an incredible story. It brought a tear to my eye. Looks like you were given something to live for. Your a outstanding man, I’m sorry for all you’ve had to endure. Good luck with the Charity. I know it will be a huge success. Rock On! <3 <3 <3

  5. Linda Thorvund
    March 30, 2012

    I have read both Becky and your blog. I am so proud of you both. You inspire me to be kinder to people I don’t even know in case they are going through something like our family. Julian touched each and every one of our hearts. He lives on in the good works you and Becky are doing. Maybe some day you will meet someone who has been helped by St. Jude. I sure hope so. What a tribute to Julian. Gunnar will be very proud of his parents; I know Dad and I are so proud of you all now.

    Mom and Dad

  6. Valarie N. Springer
    April 5, 2012

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