Friends and family of Dexter High School student Laurence Carolin are reaching out to the community in a celebration of Laurence's life and to raise awareness of extreme global poverty.
The public is invited to attend Airplane Day 2013, an event that will include live music, food and games, on Feb. 2 at Foggy Bottom Coffee House. Airplane Day is so called because it is the anniversary of Laurence's arrival by airplane in the United States when he was adopted from his birth country of South Korea in 1997.
“When Laurence was alive, his father and I would celebrate ‘Airplane Day’ every year by taking Laurence out for Korean food and giving him gifts. It was like a second birthday,” his mother Lisa Carolin said.
Laurence, 15, died in January 2010 after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.
Carolin said during the last year of her son’s life, he spent countless hours crusading to eradicate poverty.
“Laurence had the Make-A-Wish Foundation donate money to the United Nations Foundation, which works with ONE.org – a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa,” she said.
ONE.org was co-founded by Bono of the rock band U2, whose music inspired Laurence, throughout his battle against cancer, to think outside of himself.
Donna Turner, who has known Laurence since he was 5, said when it was clear he was not going to defeat the cancer, she began talking with him about expanding Airplane Day to include advocacy for the United Nations Foundation.
“I was afraid that he would pass on and his cause would just drop off. To me that was unacceptable,” Turner said in a previous interview. “I asked Laurence how he felt about us carrying on the tradition and he loved the idea.”
Turner said the event is being billed as a fun evening of music and entertainment with optional donations. It will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and include performances by the bands Spontaneous Combustion, Spin Cycle, Josh Birdsong, Delta 88, and Bluesmatics.
Other events include a sale of African-made items, guest speakers, and activities organized by the Dexter High School ONE club.
"All of the activities are geared to help people learn about, and become active in, the fight against extreme poverty," Turner said.
Admission is free with an optional donation to the United Nations Foundation.
For more information on Airplane Day, visit the event's Facebook page.