“By the grace of God he allowed me to make it through the night,” said Brian Ziegler at the Rockin’ for a Reason benefit concert. Ziegler explained his story of nearly dying in a car accident 10 years ago. He was riding in a Jeep when his vehicle hydroplaned on a wet road and crashed into a guardrail. He was thrown out of the vehicle and landed on his neck. Doctors were unsure if he would even make it through the night.
For the past four years in April, student bands have performed a benefit concert for students in the community. On Friday, Apr. 16 students and alumni bands: Great Seal, The Ron Kent Band, Steven Eric Berkenkemper, and Shaw’s Landing performed for fellow student and quadriplegic Brian Ziegler; who plans to climb Machu Picchu in South America in order to raise money and awareness for a children sponsorship program, Compassion International.
“It gives our own student musicians a venue and supports students in need,” Rae Showen head of Student Activities Council said. “One year it was a financial need that a student had and another year it was a cancer survivor,” she said.
Anna Meadows, director of Student Accessibility Services suggested Ziegler to Student Activities Council as a ‘candidate’ for this years Rockin’ for a Reason benefit concert. Showen said the council was excited to help Ziegler out and to raise money for such a worthy cause.
“Its a great way to support someone in the community,” sophomore nursing major Michelle Scalley said.
“I think the cause is really good and the music too,” freshman nursing major Ann Gardner said.
Andrew Gilson, senior music production major from Shaw’s Landing was thankful for the opportunity to perform. “This is a really cool night, a really cool experience.”
Ziegler was grateful for the event and enjoyed the bands just as much as the audience. “Thank you for the bands, man, they rock.”
Ziegler continued with his story after his accident, “I wasn’t sure what God had in store for me.” Then one day he got involved in Compassion International through Rivertree Christian Church in Massillon. “God finally grabbed me behind the back, and said Brian its time to do something.” He picked up a sponsorship packet for a little girl named Rosa who lived in Peru. “I could look into her eyes and see her soul and I was hooked,” Ziegler said. “The funny thing was—I didn’t even like kids.”
“When God heals you, it kind of gives you a big responsibility,” Ziegler said. This June, Ziegler and two other men will be going to climb Peru’s most famous mountain—Machu Picchu. “Its going to be probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it will test my strength.”
He said he hopes to meet little Rosa and her family when he is there this summer.
Ziegler said he was very thankful to the students. “This money is really going to a worthy cause. It is going to benefit some impoverished children.” Not only will this money go toward Compassion International but some of it will also go to our own community through LoveCanton,” Ziegler said.
Zeigler’s accident has not stopped him from anything—not even climbing a mountain. “I wanted to go out and glorify God and do something—something cool.”
Bethany Ross is a contributing writer to The Aviso.