On Sunday, July 27, Fenway Park was transformed from into a support center for Dan Grimes, a 42-year-old Carver resident who was recently diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.
Performers Ne-Yo and Natasha Bedingfield teamed up with Grimes’ employer, Healthbridge, and its parent company, CareOne, for a special concert inside of the Gate D concourse to benefit Grimes, a non-smoker and father of four. Michael Strahan served as the day’s master of ceremonies with special guest Tiki Barber.
Before the sold-out concert, which sold 1,800 tickets, Grimes walked a red carpet with the event’s headliners and posed with a check for the amount of money raised at the time of the concert: $1.3 million.
“It’s overwhelming with so much love and support,’’ Grimes said of the turnout. “It’s such a feeling of joy in my heart. I could never have imagined in a million years how much support for me would have come out, it’s incredible.’’
For Bedingfield, who said the words to her songs took on new meaning after hearing of Grimes’ illness, meeting the event’s honoree was more than just a red-carpet photo-op.
“I just met Dan and he just has that huge smile and I could see that the people there, his coworkers, they were just cheering for him and I thought that was really beautiful,’’ Bedingfield said. “It makes me think that we all have to treasure every day that we have and make the most of it.’’
Ne-Yo was eager to come on-board when they heard about Grimes’ story.
“To be honest when I heard Dan’s story — I mean, pardon my French, but I was kind of pissed off,’’ Ne-Yo said. “I’ll never understand why bad things happen to good people. It seems like he’s a pretty stand-up guy. He takes care of his family, works hard, and he got a bum rap.’’
“I thank God for foundations like this one that look out for the little guy that gets dealt that hand,’’ Ne-Yo added.
When CareOne’s executive vice president, Elizabeth Straus, learned of Grimes’ diagnosis, she forged ahead to create the benefit.
“Well, Lizzy came to me and told me that one of our longtime executives, Dan Grimes, was diagnosed with such a serious illness,’’ Elizabeth’s father, CareOne CEO Dan Straus, recalled. “Lizzy has such an enormous heart and she said ‘we need to do something. We need to really do something big.’’’
Elizabeth set the goal of $1 million and exceeded it by Friday, two days ahead of the event.
“We always say that CareOne — it’s is a family-owned and run company — so everybody who’s part of our company is part of our family,’’ Straus said. “Dan and his family are part of our family and we want to take care of them and help them and support them in any way that we can.’’
The CareOne Cancer Fund in Honor of Dan Grimes was created initally to benefit Grimes and his family, but will also serve other employees of the company who may be affected by cancer.