Peter Gatti is seeing his life come full circle. Whereas some people spend their lives working on auto-pilot, not feeling any passion for their careers, he is rocking the socks off of fans everywhere who are catching on to the Decades Rewind craze. And as if traveling the country with 25 bandmates and crew, hitting convention centers near and far wasn’t enough, he has found a way to give back in a very special and personal way.
At all of the Decades Rewind shows, handmade bears by Nina’s Share-A-Bear are sold with 100% of the profits given to the American Cancer Society. In addition, for every bear sold, the group donates one bear to a child in a hospital. They visit hospitals in the communities they are performing in, and the experience has proven to be therapeutic not only for the children but for Peter and the gang as well. Given Decades Rewind will be performing at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall this month, Peter thought the group would donate bears to All Children’s Hospital in Sarasota. For Peter, this was the perfect opportunity to think of a little girl who is special to his heart, and who would certainly make a trip to the hospital much more meaningful.
Marissa Peddie is an 11-year-old cancer survivor. While battling leukemia at the young age of seven, Marissa was given the opportunity to do something she’d always dreamed of, which was performing on a large stage. Born with the voice of an angel, and a personality for days, she was a natural star with a longing for an audience. Once Peter heard of her wishes, he could not wait to give her the opportunity to steal the limelight and arranged for Marissa to join him on stage at a local event. Several years later, Peter and his wife, who is also a cancer survivor, are very close with the Peddie family. When Marissa heard about accompanying Peter to drop bears off to local kids at a hospital, she jumped on board. Even as a “tweener,” Marissa has shown courage and compassion throughout her illness and recovery, often volunteering on her own to help kids with cancer in any way she can. Through her treatments and darkest days, people marveled at the bravery the little girl displayed all while sporting her signature smile.
If you’d like to hear Marissa sing and meet the little girl who has touched many with her beautiful personality and outlook on life, you can catch her on stage with Decades Rewind at Van Wezel on November 19. They’re going to honor her with a video tribute. You can also find her songs which she’s recorded locally on iTunes. And if you’re so inclined, purchase a handmade bear which will make a great gift for a little person in your life. Once you do that, the goodness chain continues with an additional bear put aside, sure to be dropped off to a young patient.
In such a volatile year with political rhetoric and mud-slinging abounding, it’s nice to know there are people like Peter and Marissa doing their part to give back to the community and pay kindness forward. It’s a good lesson for all of us that goodness comes from different ages and gender and none of us are precluded from the obligation to love others. Peace, love, grooviness, and giving to you all! If you’d like more information on Decades Rewind or their bear donation program, and other charitable they’re involved with, please visit www.decadesrewind.com.
photos provided by Peter Gatti