Rachel and Roger Reynolds of Virginia are to be in Tiffin this weekend making appearances to promote C.J's Thumbs Up Foundation.
The couple established the non-profit fund in 2010 in memory of their 4-year-old daughter who died from a brain tumor.
Proceeds from a concert today by the Tiffin University music department are to benefit the Reynolds' foundation, which provides financial assistance to families of children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
In a phone interview, Roger explained the connection between Tiffin University and CJ's foundation. Nathan Santos, a new music instructor at TU, is a friend of Roger's.
Also, Roger and Brad Rees, head of the TU music department, were in the music program at the University of Northern Colorado.
After that, they became reacquainted in their professional lives.
"I met Brad through various (music) festivals, and I came over here once before to do a clinic and a performance with a vocal jazz group I used to be in," Roger said.
Rachel will be signing copies of her book, "Four Seasons For Charlotte," 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Bailiwicks Coffee Company. The book is a memoir of the year that the Reynolds' only child, Charlotte Jennie Reynolds, was diagnosed and treated before being claimed by cancer. The 154-page paperback was released May 15, 2012, by Palari Publishing. Rachel is donating half the profits from the book's sales to the foundation.
The book shares lessons the Reynolds learned as they managed their emotions through Charlotte's diagnosis, treatments and hospital visits. Explaining Charlotte's condition to friends and family and navigating the medical system also are described; however, the story is not without humor and hope that those who read it will try to live each day to its fullest.
A writer and blogger, Rachel has worked for the last 15 years in the field of special education as a speech language pathologist. Autism spectrum disorders are her primary area of interest. Having taught in the music department at Randolph-Macon College, Roger occasionally gives music lessons, but his main employment is working as a radio D.J. in Ashland, Va. He also helps Rachel to run the foundation.
"The foundation is not our career. It's something that everybody said we ought to do ... We had a fantastic network around us. When Charlotte got sick, we didn't realize how many friends we had. We didn't want that energy to go away. We saw some holes in the care of other families. It was hard for us, and we were well-supported, and we couldn't imagine (the effect on) any other families, like single parent families or someone who had to quit their job and loose their insurance," Roger said.
The foundation recently partnered with another non-profit to form something called the Lunch Bunch. Donations to the Lunch Bunch provide meals once a week to the families in Children's Hospital at Medical College of Virginia. Roger said more than 100 people received a free Thanksgiving dinner last week.
"The restaurants and caterers give us really good deals, so that helps," Roger explained.
At the Saturday concert at the Ritz, Roger will be singing "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" with one of the Tiffin University ensembles. Curtain time is 7 p.m. at the Ritz Theatre.