Stories like Jade Bell's are testaments to the strength of the human spirit. Without being able to see, speak clearly, use his arms or legs, and bound to a chair Jade has managed in the last year alone to: head his non-profit foundation, co-create the groundwork for a music program for at risk youth, prepare the launch of a full band CD release and fundraiser event, all while his 3rd full length album is well under way in the recording studio. Through this work, Jade continues to stay true to his poetic spirit, by writing lyrics, creating musical collaborations and dreaming of life to come.
Jade gets some pain relief, with his first meeting and embrace with his new born niece.
Jade Bell suffered an anoxic brain injury in 1997 from a lethal injection of heroin and cocaine while heavily intoxicated with alcohol. As a result, he lost his sight and mobility from a muscle disorder called Dystonia and became dependent on twenty-four hour care. To communicate, his head taps sensors mounted on his chair, translating Morse code into letters, words and sentences. He has devoted his life since his overdose, to educating youth on the dangers of drug use and his message has reached over two-hundred thousand students in our country with the aid of his computer-generated voice
When asked how his neck feels today and what his ambitions for the future are, he smiled; then slowly mouthed letter by letter to his caregiver, who interpreted what he said.
"It feels like King Kong Bundy has had me in a headlock for the last month. Some people assume, because I'm in a chair, that I'm paralyzed and can't feel anything neck-down. My condition is quite the opposite, for my sense of touch has only enhanced since my overdose. Sure the pain I felt with breaking my neck is indescribable, but I'm so grateful to still be able to feel, and to have the mobility I do have with my body. It seemed like the Universe was being a big comedian when it happened because I was in the midst of organizing a fundraiser and CD release event for my second album "War Stained Skin", plus working on my third album. The last thing I thought I needed to deal with was slower means of communication. I didn't postpone my event plans in trust that it would come together with the help of the community, and my team of Angels who help me with my emails. My ambitions for the future are to live the emotions that inspire my creative expression. I believe pain has been a way to tap into a higher intelligence and creativity has been a tool for me to express my experiences with both pain and love. I hope to have a successful album release fundraiser, complete my third album, ‘Black Swan' and to launch a Kickstarter campaign that will fund a trial run of my dream project; Salty Rock Music Recording and Mentorship Program. This is a program that encourages youth to explore creative expression, rather than harbouring their feelings inside and masking them with drugs."
Jade wanted to end our short, but poignant interview with this acknowledgement.
"I want to extent my appreciation to the collaborating artists and musicians who I have had the privilege to work with, in the last seven years. It's been nothing less than magical to collaborate with artists like Ananda Sinclair, a soul brother who connects with my lyrics and mirrors their emotion with authenticity and conviction in his beautiful voice. As well I want to thank the collective of totally amazing local talent that have volunteered their time to bring my words and message to life, in song, on the 28th of March."
View More Info on CD Release Party
Written by Beth Stupple.
View PDF of The Driftwood article above
March 28 @ ArtSpring Theatre Doors:6:30, Show:8:00
War Stained Skin; Jade Bell CD RELEASE and FUNDRAISER benefitting Salty Rock Music Recording and Mentorship Program, for youth in the Gulf Islands. SILENT AUCTION with GREAT PRIZES!! Performances by amazing local talent including: Ananda Sinclair, Billie Woods, Rama&Ashton of Sweet Water Revolver, James Cowan, Jamyn Wagler, Betty Supple, Elijah Stepaniuk, Marley Daemon, Michelle Footz, Donn Tarris and others! Tickets $25@ArtSpring Theatre and include 3 song EP of Jade Bell's next album: "Black Swan"
April 9, 2011: Jade's KIDS Foundation held its first annual Dodgeball Tournament Fundraiser
Here is a TV interview clip with Koichi Paxton, Director of the KIDS Foundation:
December 2, 2008: Catherine Barr reports on a fundraiser for Jade's KIDS Foundation
Kids Independent of Drugs was held at the Vancouver Club. The special fundraiser was held at the Vancouver Club thanks to the support of West Vancouver's Martyn Element (and Element and Associates) and other North Shore notables.