Our Family’s First Coldplay Concert Was a Magical Night Together

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by Jackie Babiarz |

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Everyone remembers their first concert — who came along, where it was at, and most importantly, who performed.

I went to my first concert in the 1980s, when I was in second grade. My mom took my five siblings and me to see Michael Jackson at a local venue near Chicago. I remember thinking how cool my mom was as she danced and sang with all of us. It was probably the first time I viewed her a bit differently than just my mom. It also was my first glimpse of how music can bond people of all ages.

My husband’s first concert was in the ’90s, when he saw the Beach Boys with his parents and a friend at another suburban Chicago venue. Our daughter Cammy attended her first concert in 2015 when she was 6, accompanying her aunt Joanne, my aunt Mary Ann, and me to see Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Last weekend, it was Cammy’s 11-year-old little sister Ryan’s turn for her first big concert. When the nonprofit organization Easterseals sent out an email to their clients, families, and supporters for a special offer to see the pop band Coldplay at Chicago’s Soldier Field on May 28, we excitedly accepted. Easterseals’ therapists have become like family to us since first treating Cammy when she was 2, before she was diagnosed with Rett syndrome.

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Easterseals, ticket vendor Live Nation, and Coldplay joined forces to go above and beyond to help people with disabilities and their families have an inclusive experience. From providing a ramp up to a spacious platform for special needs families to special vests for deaf and hard of hearing and their sign language interpreters, these three organizations collectively made this an incredible, inclusive, and magical experience.

coldplay tour 2022 | Rett Syndrome News | Cammy and her sister, Ryan, pose by the stage before a Coldplay concert in Chicago

From left, Ryan and Cammy pause by the stage before the crowd arrives at a Coldplay concert in Chicago, on May 28. (Photo by Jacqueline Babiarz)

Cammy played it cool as she’s been backstage to see both Bocelli and the Dropkick Murphys. Ryan took in the entire experience, from walking onto the field to our incredible accessible seats on a platform that allowed a better view than general admission. In front of us were PedGen stationary bikes for concertgoers to ride during the show to help power one of the stages and reduce the concert’s carbon emissions. Ryan immediately jumped on a bike and rode throughout the night.

coldplay tour 2022 | Rett Syndrome News | Ryan rides a stationary bike used to help power a Coldplay show in Chicago

Ryan rides a stationary bike to help power a Coldplay show in Chicago last weekend as part of the band’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. (Photo by Jacqueline Babiarz)

Wearing LED wristbands distributed by the band, Ryan waved her arms along with more than 60,000 other fans. She eagerly swatted at the giant balloons that made their way to our seats from the stage. She sang and danced alongside me when the band played our favorite songs. I soaked up her joy of the entire experience.

Coldplay has a special place in our hearts because their song “Fix You” has become our anthem for Cammy since Rett syndrome came into our lives in 2011. We will never forget this family experience. And maybe one day, Ryan will look back and think of me just as I remembered my mom during my first concert.

coldplay tour 2022 | Rett Syndrome News | Ryan, Jacqueline, Cammy, and Bill Babiarz share a special moment at a Coldplay concert in Chicago

From left, Ryan, Jacqueline, Cammy, and Bill Babiarz share a special moment at a Coldplay concert in Chicago, on May 28. (Courtesy of Jacqueline Babiarz)

Note: Rett Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Rett Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Rett syndrome.


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