Given To Live got to do something very special today.
We gave Declan the news that he will be seeing Slipknot in Leeds in February at the Leeds Arena. As he has to travel to get to the show, and because he deserves a very special day, he will be staying at the Crowne Plaza in Leeds. This not only left him speechless but had him shaking with excitement.
Declan is 17, has some learning difficulties, Autism, ADHD, ASD amongst others and some of the day to day issues that come from simply being different.
Oftentimes being different can lead to being bullied and that was a big part of Declan's experience at school. He's left that school now and is doing a course in animal care. This is something Declan loves, a big part of this being because the animals accept Declan for who he is without judgement. Even snakes although they're not his favourite.
As is the case with a lot of teenagers his room has been known to be a disaster zone. As is often the case for someone in Declan's shoes their room is a sanctuary. We've heard that tonight this sanctuary is also the place he leaps from heading downstairs because he's so excited to be seeing Slipknot he's just got to say something about the day to mum and dad, Beverley and Kevin.
Like a lot of boys and their fathers' Declan and Kev had father/son issues. When Declan was 13 he got into Slipknot, Dad is into Slipknot and this mutual love of a band became a bridge between father and son. A way to connect, to become closer; a catalyst to breaking the schism between them. Music opening their hearts to each other, Slipknot the foundation of this bridge.
We're not sure if Kev will be able to make the show as he's a lead security operator in Iraq and there are strict rotors in place but we hope that someone will be able to make the necessary change so father and son can rock out together. Kev works away in Iraq and has done since 2007. He's good at what he does, in a place where working security doesn't mean keeping an eye out for shoplifters. It also means long stretches away from home, away from Bev his wife and the other kids. So we hope very much Kev will be able to join Bev and Declan in Leeds and see his son's first gig.
Watching, Slipknot, the band that brought father and son closer together.
For the last year the Foo Fam, a Facebook group with members from all four corners of the globe, has been supporting Given To Live.