A life too short

It was on this date nine years ago that the young singing star, enjoying what was the beginning of a storybook success story, died in a Paris hospital waiting for a lung transplant.  Once you have seen the young man perform, you will immediately recognize the tragedy of this tale. You may then understand why fighting the battle Gregory was forced to fight is one of the saddest tragedies our youth can face. When I wrote this four years ago, Gregory was new to me.  I had just discovered his story and the odyssey launched by his dream to sing.  Now at the 9th Anniversary of his passing, I would like to introduce you, or reintroduce you, to this talented Frenchman: 

Grégory was not even two years old when he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. That is a genetic disease of the lungs primarily, also the liver and intestines. Its name comes from the scarring and cyst formations in the pancreas. CF can rob you of your breath and then your life.

While he did consider sports journalism as a career path, Grégory decided to pursue a singing career. Perhaps some would see that as a futile choice for a boy suffering with cystic fibrosis, but it was his real passion. In 2003 he was involved in musical comedy theater, but his big break came in 2004 when he joined in the competition on Star Academy. That would be the French version of the Idol programs in the UK and America. While on the show he got the chance to sing with Yannik Noah, former tennis star and father of a well-known Chicago basketball player. Grégory won the competition in a final landslide vote an American politician can really appreciate. It launched him on a red-hot career.

Grègory had become himself, the person he wanted to be. Appropriately his first album was Je deviens moi (I become me). Television shows, personal appearances and even a concert tour followed the release of his first single and its radio popularity. A live album and DVD of his concerts was an immediate hit in Europe. Music videos of his popular singles were released and can be found on You Tube. He sang mostly in his native French, but also English and Italian. His good looks, great vocal range, albums, dvd, and European popularity would make it seem like he had it all, but he was being robbed. CF was taking his breath away. In 2007 Grégory said his doctor ordered him to take a few weeks off to recuperate. He died waiting for a lung transplant. (He was 23.)

The story would just be ultra sad if we ended it there, but it did not end. Besides the outpouring of emotion in France, a posthumous album earned money for the Association Grégory Lemarchal to aid those with the disease. His sister published a photo book “Mon frère, l’artiste” of her pictures of her brother with the proceeds going to the cause. His mother wanted to put Grégory’s earnings after his death into helping those with CF, so that others would not suffer like her son did. Millions and millions have been raised, and yet young people are still dying.

If you know someone who is suffering or has passed you may want to consider helping here: http://www.cff.org/ Charitable giving is down but the need remains. It is tragic to lose anyone so young. Grégory’s short but successful career helps to shine a light on that.
I learned of his songs five years after his death, but like many, I wonder how great a career he might have had. I also wonder if the bright future of many others can be saved.

From Olympia 06, the only live album and DVD.  This tour was cut short, as was Gregory’s life. It is not high quality but the entire concert is here and begins with Je deviens moi.

WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM

When this short story was written for SERENDIPITY last year, I had recently read a number of real stories of a similar type.  While this one is fiction, these things happen regularly.

When You No Longer Have a Home, Rich Paschall Jimmy knew it was not going to be easy.  He had put it off for weeks, but after a while the delay was just as hard as what he perceived the actual even…

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LAYING DOWN THE MUSICAL LAW

tom-joseph-lawA lot has happened for Tom since this article appeared last year.  In addition to adding a lot of new music, he played in a band (Cahoots) that got to be the opening act of a festival at Wembley Stadium, put up “vlogs” about his life as well as some blogs, got an American girlfriend and moved to Croatia to be with her.  Yes, he still makes music videos and you can find him on You Tube and itunes and the like.  

Tom Joseph Law music, by Rich Paschall There is no shortage of musicians on You Tube and other social media platforms who wish to become famous.  Some are actually rather good and just hoping to be…

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SOMETHING THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME

When I saw the American Idol finale this past week, I thought about this post from 2014 on Pop star David Archuleta.    He only appeared briefly in a group number on the last show, but he explained he could not commit early due to his schedule and was just glad to be there.

A pop star profile by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog What comes to mind when I say “rock star” or “pop star?”  Do you think of your favorite singers?  Do you hear their mu…

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A SHADE OF DIFFERENCE

With the political races working hard to divide us against one another, it seemed like a good time to run this piece again. What colors are you against?

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What are your colors? by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

Everyone has favorite colors. You can probably tell what someone likes by the colors in their home. People pick out the color for their rooms not just by the color, but the shade of color. Big home improvement stores will mix and match colors for you so you have just the right shade. They stock color palates and have little colored papers you can take with you while you stare at the walls and envision how it will look. Some will even give you a little sample so you can stare at a brush stroke you put on the wall and dream of a whole room in that color.

Blue is a nice color to me, but I would never paint the walls a dark blue, only pastels. As a matter of fact, there would be no deep dark colors in my home decorating, if you can…

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SUNSHINE, SPRING TRAINING AND SURVIVAL

It is time for a Spring Training story. This one appeared last year on SERENDIPITY and was in the middle of a series of stories that mentioned Harold, a retired Midwest planner.

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The missing Harold mystery, Rich Paschall

George and his ever talkative wife Martha had just about enough of the Midwest winter. They were tired of snow,  tired of cold. At close-to-retirement age, they were just plain tired. When another cold night forced them to stay at home rather than visit a favorite neighborhood stop, they realized there was only one thing which could pull them through to warmer weather. Baseball! Right then and there, they began to talk about a trip to sunny Florida for a round of spring training games.

A year before, they had traveled to Florida on a rare road trip to see the Chicago Cubs play. The Cubs lost, of course, but they deemed the trip a success. They had visited a ball park other than Wrigley Field, spent a day at the beach, and wandered through town to do some typical tourist shopping. They had some very hot days, but did not suffer the kind of stifling humidity…

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DEATH OF DEMOCRACY

This story originally appeared on SERENDIPTY in 2014 during the “off year” campaign (Click the “Source” link below the opening lines to read the story).  There was a shift in the balance of Congress after the actual election that year.  The follow up short story regarding the Presidential campaign will appear Tuesday on SERENDIPITY

A cautionary fairy tale by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog   The King Brothers strode through the luxurious lobby of the grand Wilford Washington Hotel. It is a stately old hotel with all the modern…

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DECEMBER BOYS (2007) DANIEL RADCLIFFE – RICH PASCHALL

Ten years ago Daniel Radcliffe made this move. Unless you are a big Radcliffe fan, you might not have heard of it.

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DECEMBER BOYS (2007)

Movie Review, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

You probably missed it in the theater.  It stars Daniel Radcliffe at the height of the Harry Potter phenomenon.  The Australian made film also found a big name distributor for the USA and Canada, Warner Brothers.  Yes, the same mega movie studio that distributed Harry Potter.  If you were the producer of this little Australian project, you might expect you would hit the jackpot with Radcliffe’s star power, plus one of the biggest movie distributors in the world.  You’d be wrong.

Distributor: Warner Independent Distributor: Warner Independent

Filmed down under in 2006, December Boys is based on the novel of the same name.  The setting was moved up from the 1930s to the 1960s and is told as a flashback, as it was in the book.  This allows the ending to be brought up to modern times. The boys are orphans at a Catholic institution.  Four boys…

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HAVE ANY CHANGE YOU CAN SPARE? – RICH PASCHALL

This is a true story that was posted last winter. The point is still important as there seems to be no less homeless now. We could, and perhaps should, rant about the lack of government help. We can also point out the need to help one another and our community organizations.

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Begging on the city streets, Rich Paschall

It was a particularly nice evening for this time of year. The temperature has been known to be brutal when the calendar reaches this point of winter, but this night was different. People walked as if the wind was not pushing them along. For a town known as “The Windy City,” there was barely any wind at all. A few people were standing about in front of sports bars, having a smoke or talking about this year’s football disaster. There was no reason to hurry inside.

A parking spot was waiting for me across the street from my destination. It was not the Wild West Restaurant and Sports Bar from the short story series from last year, but in my mind it was close enough. I was ready to order some food that I probably should not have, but I thought I would just forget the word “cholesterol” for a…

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WHAT IS YOUR SONG?

This article appeared last year on SERENDIPITY.  Go visit and see today’s article Hey Baby, They’re Playing Our Song.

The Soundtrack of Your Life, Rich Paschall You have probably heard that phrase before. Oldies radio stations love to use it. They want you to think they are playing the soundtrack of our lives. You…

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