Carrying on

Friday, August 8, 2008

Rick Springfield, the Australian-born musician, song writer and actor, has had a varied career ranging from entertaining troops in Vietnam to winning a Grammy award to playing two roles at the same time on a popular daytime soap opera. In recent years, he also has developed an enduring relationship with Cape Girardeau, thanks to his friendship with young Sahara Aldridge, who died of cancer in November after capturing the hearts of so many admirers -- including Springfield -- as she celebrated life to the fullest.

In 2006, Springfield gave a benefit performance at the Show Me Center to raise money to offset Sahara's medical bills. Local fans turned out in droves. Now Springfield is coming back for another benefit, this time a solo concert at Buckner Brewing Co. in downtown Cape Girardeau. The proceeds will go to Mississippi Valley Therapeutic Horsemanship, an organization that uses horses to promote healing. Sahara's mother, Amy Aldridge, recalls: "Finding Mississippi Valley was one of the best things that happened to Sahara while she was sick. I have a photo that sums up everything in one photograph. She's on a horse and has left her wheelchair behind. It shows she's happy, able to be free for a while and able to do what she loved before her illness."

On a horse instead of in a wheelchair. That's the reason Springfield is helping to raise funds for this organization.

Last week Springfield released a new album, which includes three songs written about Sahara: "Saint Sahara," "God Blinked (Swing it, Sister)" and "Oblivious."

For anyone interested in reaching out to youngsters who benefit from the work Mississippi Valley is doing, the Oct. 4 fundraising concert will be a great evening. Rick Springfield has been touched by Sahara Aldridge, as have so many of her family and friends.

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