Benefit concert special for Surrey rocker

SURREY — B.C. Children’s Hospital has a special place for at least one musician who took part in the recent Rock the Ridge concert in Pitt Meadows.

Northern Rain drummer Matt Stockwell, an 18-year-old Surrey resident who recently graduated from Fleetwood Park Secondary, underwent successful heart surgery at the hospital in June.

The four-and-a-half hour procedure, called catheter ablation, restores normal heart rhythm, particularly if the irregular rhythm has not responded to medication.

"It happened just over a month ago and it was good," Stockwell said late last month.

"I’ve had (heart) arrhythmia for five years, and as soon as I graduated and finished my hockey, I thought it would be a perfect time to do it. The people there are so nice and so well educated. I was scared before (I went in for surgery) but I wasn’t scared at all when I was in there. They were super calming – full marks to them."

"Our experience with Children’s was great," added Stockwell’s mom, Kathy.

"It’s amazing to be in the cardiology clinic and see three-week-old babies being cared for and then this six foot, lanky young man walks in – his toes were almost hanging over the stretcher."

A fundraiser for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Rock the Ridge is now an annual event, due in large part to the exuberance of past performers, volunteers, and fans at the inaugural 2013 concert.

Northern Rain – which includes Stockwell, vocalist and bass guitarist Sam Hobeyn, lead guitarist Matt Friesen, and rhythm guitarist Bryan Miguel – and other bands performed at the event Aug. 22 at Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall.

Funds from Rock the Ridge support the most urgent needs of the hospital.

"The goal of the annual concert is to provide an opportunity to support local kids through local music," show producer Sara Stanley said.

Last year, Rock the Ridge raised $1,100 (after expenses) for BCCHF.

"It’s a great cause and my favourite charity," Stockwell said. "What they do for the kids, they save tons and tons of lives. I couldn’t think of a better cause."

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