Richmondite Frank Xiao aims to start the New Year by shining a light on the journey of children who are fighting through the toughest battles in their lives.
On Sunday, Jan. 19, Bujar Llapaj, an Albanian-born, multi-award-winning musical conductor, will be joining local musicians to perform at the River Rock Casino for a special concert.
All funds raised through tickets will be donated to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, which helps children who suffer from complex medical conditions to live their life to the fullest, according to Xiao, one of the event organizers.
“Audiences will spend the night listening to music full of love and hope. If they enjoy the show, they can donate as much as they like - even one dollar means a lot to us,” Xiao told the Richmond News.
“Not many immigrants from the Asian community have heard about the hospice before moving to Canada. I used to be one of them.”
However, a visit to the hospice has changed Xiao’s mind.
Although it has been two years since that first visit, he still clearly remembers the day when he walked in and came across a few belongings from children who had passed away.
Among them, a beautiful painting caught his eye.
“I saw a plane flying in the sky with people and a dog sitting on the plane,” said Xiao.
“They all had a bright smile on their face. His parents told the child that he would travel somewhere for quite a long time, but his family members couldn’t accompany him.
“So he drew everything he wanted to bring in this picture.”
As a father, Xiao said his heart was shattered into pieces after hearing the story.
And even though the children could lose their fight for life at any given moment, Xiao said they still put on a smiling face and greeted him kindly.
“Their positive spirits gave me faith in humanity. Then, I started thinking about why not start to help those kids and families?”
A fundraising idea began taking shape after Xiao shared the story with his friend Cindy Liu, whose son also visited the hospice recently through a school field trip.
“My son came home with tear-filled eyes following the trip and asked if we could do anything to help them,” said Liu.
With support from friends and family members, Liu and Xiao managed to hold a concert in Richmond last year, which raised $18,000 for the hospice.
As this year’s concert approaches, Xiao hopes to invite more people to attend the event and spread the message of hope to these children and families.
“We want to help kids to better cope with pain, so they can be a child and have fun,” said Xiao. “We don’t count the days; we want to make the days count.”
For more information about the event, contact 1-866-268-0328.