People in Semiahmoo Peninsula creative circles know music videographer Chris Edwards as a perpetually upbeat enthusiast brimming over with energy.
That’s why it came as such a shock when news started to spread that he’d suffered a catastrophic fall on Christmas Eve.
Leaning over to pick up a cigarette or a lighter on the stairway leading up from the driveway to a friend’s house, Edwards lost his balance, tumbling down the slope beside the stairway before he hit cement.
The result was paralysis that currently has him wheelchair-bound in Vancouver’s G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre.
But not for long – if Edwards has any say in the matter – noted close friend Kraig Wenman, a White Rock-based film and music producer.
“He has this new pair of shoes and he says he’s not taking them off until he walks out of there,” he marvelled.
Wenman is one of a group of Edwards’ buddies who have organized an all-but-sold-out fundraising concert for him, Friends With Benefits, at the Crescent Legion Branch 240 on April 14 (there won’t be any tickets at the door, and while there may still be some advance tickets available, don’t count on it).
But even if people can’t contribute by buying a ticket, there are other ways to help, said Wenman.
Donations of goods and services for silent auction items are still being gratefully accepted, he said.
“Even if it’s something small, it can be included in a basket,” he said. “And sports tickets are always popular. Say somebody has seasons tickets – if they would be willing to give up tickets for one of the games, that would be huge.”
Even with an eager support network, cost of treatment and rehabilitation inevitably accumulate, Wenman said.
“He can’t work,” he said. “He’s just got a new wheelchair that costs $17,000, and like most of us, he’s a contract worker. His family is all down in California. That’s why it’s ‘Friends of Christopher Edwards’. We’re like an extended family.”
Wenman said there was no hesitation among local musicians in getting involved.
Signed on as performers are Neil Harnett, James Shepherd, Soundstem, The Sumner Brothers, Bastard Skinny and Their There – plus some surprise guests from Edwards’ past, which included being front-and-centre when the Seattle Grunge scene first came together.
“I think his home town is Whittier, California,” said Wenman. “He was in L.A. during the riots, shooting footage, and he also hung out with the Chili Peppers and Johnny Depp at the Viper Room back in the day.”
Anyone who thinks Edwards is down for the count doesn’t know him very well, Wenman said.
All Edwards’ willpower is focused on recovery, and he’s already made progress in terms of body mobility that has amazed doctors, he said.
The fall didn’t impair his vocal chords either, Wenman noted.
“When I first went down to visit him at G.F. Strong, I asked one of the nurses what room he was in. She said, ‘you’ll find him by the sound of his voice’ – and I did.”
Edwards won’t be physically at the show – but he’ll be enjoying and interacting with all of it through Skype, Wenman said.
“He likes the idea of having all his friends in the same room at the same time – but he wishes it didn’t have to be about him to get everybody together,” he added.
“It’s an event he would have been part of, anyway, if it wasn’t about him. He would have been doing the video and the editing.”
For more information on the concert, visit the Friends of Christopher Edwards Facebook site, www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Christopher-Edwards/27389582