I often talk about the Toto family – not just the band members but the fans. Sure Jimmy Buffet’s “Parrot Heads” gets all the press when it comes to great branding but Toto have always looked at the fans as family too ..as one family found out.
Ryan Smith found out his father had terminal liver cancer this past May 30th. It was stage four with only six or less months to live. They were removing his gallbladder when they discovered the cancerous tumors on his liver. Weeks before his parents bought tickets to the June 28 Toto show at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois. Like many dedicated fans the pair were willing to travel – three-plus hours in this case. Ryan says this was certainly a regular occurrence since his mom suffered a stroke a decade ago but Toto touched this lady. After watching Toto’s 35th Anniversary Poland DVD she just said, “They’re just so amazing and beautiful.”
Ryan then realized this could possibly be the last real special date his parents would ever have. That’s when he sparing to action. He would be their Make-a-Wish Foundation.
By accident he contacted Toto the plumbing company and then Ron Onesti, the owner Arcada Theatre reached out and said, “Let’s make this amazing for them!” He then offered Extra tickets for friends and family. Dinner. Maybe a meet-and-greet with Toto?
Then Toto’s front-man Steve Lukather messaged back, he wanted to meet Ryan’s parents. When his mom found out she cried tears of joy. She though he was making the whole thing up.
As Ryan posted in his article (links to it below) a Toto fan from the Netherlands heard about their predicament and offered well wishes. Ryan says his dad has started calling this Toto concert “my wake before I sleep,” because a bunch of family and friends are going to join Mark and Jan Smith. Forever members of the Toto family. – by John Beaudin
READ RYAN SMITH ORIGIAL STORY HERE
Jellyfish in Space by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio.