By John Collins, firstname.lastname@example.org
BOSTON — Nearly a year after his death last September at age 6, the legacy of Joseph Middlemiss and the charitable foundation named for the big-hearted Dracut resident continues to grow, thanks largely to a chance meeting that occurred outside Fenway Park earlier this year.
Scott and Kate Middlemiss, Joe’s parents, whose 1-year-old son Jack has the same heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, that felled his older brother, were taking a therapeutic walk from Children’s Hospital, where Jack was undergoing treatment, to Fenway Park when they literally walked into Red Sox owner John Henry.
"Jack was in the hospital for a month with the same condition as Joe. We had just had a giant hospital team meeting about Jack’s medical needs, and afterward Scott and I went for another one of our daily walks from Children’s Hospital to Fenway and just talked. It’s kind of our healing time," Kate Middlemiss said.
On this fateful day, the couple was walking outside Fenway Park when they encountered the familiar figure of Henry on the otherwise empty street, Kate Middlemiss recalled.
"We walked up to him and shared our mission and (Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart) Foundation mission with him, and he took an immediate interest, asking us to seek out Dr. (Charles) Steinberg.
Steinberg, the Red Sox senior adviser, embraced the Middlemiss family on behalf of the organization, offering the team’s enthusiastic assistance in boosting the Big Heart Foundation’s profile and fundraising efforts, Kate Middlemiss reported.
Tonight, the Red Sox organization’s presence will permeate the "Grimes & Guiney Jam for Joe" fundraising event at the House of Blues at 15 Lansdowne St. overlooking Fenway Park, where Dracut native TV/movie actor and singer Scott Grimes is again teaming up with Bob Guiney of TV’s "The Bachelor" fame for a musical performance, this time to benefit the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation.
Guiney and Grimes, who is in Boston filming scenes with friend Seth McFarlane for the sequel, "Ted 2," will entertain what’s likely to be a sold-out show for about 2,200 audience members at the House of Blues while basking in the glow of the Red Sox three World Series trophies, from 2004, 2007 and 2013, that Steinberg provided for the event.
The Red Sox and Steinberg also contributed a once-in-a-lifetime auction package that includes four premium tickets to a Sox game, the opportunity to take a two-hour batting practice with the team, and an invitation to dinner with the club.
It adds up to the perfect tribute for Joseph Middlemiss and his legacy, headlined by Guiney and Grimes, who bonded with Joe over their love of music in a previous Grimes’ concert at the Lo Kai restaurant in Dracut on May 31, 2013, Joe’s 6th birthday.
"Joe would’ve loved the House of Blues. Right on the door is a gigantic heart, the emblem of the club, and it is totally him," Kate Middlemiss said. "Joe loved music, and Fenway. This is also right in Boston where Children’s Hospital is, and we’re hoping to support a lot of families there."
As of Thursday, only about 30 tickets to Saturday night’s House of Blues fundraiser remained to be sold at $50 each, according to Guiney.
Guiney said there is nowhere else he’d rather be Saturday night than on-stage with Grimes, even as the Red Sox take on their arch-rival Yankees across the street at Fenway. And especially for such a worthy cause, Guiney said.
"Kids shouldn’t have to worry about being sick; kids should only have to think about, what am I going to play today?" said Guiney. "Scott and I enjoy playing music together, and the fact we get to help raise awareness of childhood heart conditions, and provide some assistance to the families while doing it? That makes it one of those events where we really are very excited to be there."
For more information on "Grimes & Guiney Jam for Joe" and other upcoming events, visit: www.jmbigheart.org.
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