November 26, 2016 marks the five year anniversary where three local youth — Thaddeus Lake, Kole Novak and Bradley Arsenault — were run down and killed by a drunk driver outside of Beaumont.

It was a day the families and friends of the three young men will never forget, but even in the darkest of days, sometimes a light does shine through. 

“That event shook many surrounding communities, family and friends with overwhelming grief. How do you ever cope with such a loss, survive it, live beyond it and heal from it?,” lamented Karen Lake, Thaddeus’ mother.

For the parents of Thaddeus, Karen and Anthony, this light came in the form of music — a passion that drove Thaddeus’ life. 

2016 also marks the fourth year the Thaddeus Lake Music Foundation continues to work towards providing youth from the ages of seven to 22 with the opportunity to pursue their musical dreams, which they financially may not otherwise be able to.

The idea for the foundation was actually born before the tragedy occurred.

“Three weeks before the tragedy, Thaddeus came to [me] and had a conversation about an idea he had to start a “charity” for kids that had the desire and passion to learn and play music but did not have the financial ability to pay for tuition or instruments. Thad loved music and lived music and he wanted everyone to have the opportunity to experience that same fulfilment,” explained Karen.

After the unthinkable happened, Karen knew this foundation would be a way to not only keep her son’s memory alive, but also provide an avenue to achieve what Thad wanted to do.

“Little did anyone know what a profound gift he left his family, friends and community. It has been a lifeline to Thaddeus and his memory, helped with the healing process and made community connections in many ways,” added Karen.
As someone who had an unrelenting passion for music, Thad had a favourite saying that has become the mantra of the foundation — “Let the Music Speak for Itself.”

In the early stages of 2013, the foundation started to take form and as the days and months passed the support rolled in and eventually they were able to give back to the community.

“The work of the foundation has grown over the past few years with the help, support, and generosity of many. One of the most powerful things the Lake family has come to realize is that they are not alone on their journey of healing, recovery and walking forward. Immediately after the birth of the Thaddeus Lake Music Foundation generous donations poured in and a board of seven was formed to oversee and plan the direction and purpose. Many local businesses made the foundation the recipient of their “community charity fundraisers” and local high schools continue to contribute yearly through their student events,” said Karen.

The foundation has made it possible for youth involved in music to attend national competitions, music festivals by subsidizing travel expenses. Scholarships are also given out each year at the Leduc Music Festival to help further musical education. Another area the foundation has helped provide towards is to cover a portion of the costs of recording for local bands.

“This cause was particularly near and dear to Thad’s heart,” noted Karen.
2016 was another busy year for the foundation as they began working with the Boys and Girls Club of Leduc. Members donated a piano, guitars and a rock band instrument ensemble to the club’s members. After a meeting with the club’s program director and volunteers, a music program was born. Currently, there are three music instructors teaching weekly piano and guitar lessons.

“It is so heartwarming to the Lake family to experience the generosity of a local benefactor that stepped up to provide funding to purchase smaller instruments that were needed for smaller kids, and businesses such as Long & Mcquade, Turner Guitar and Triple J Signs and Decals that offer their generosity in subsidizing and providing materials, time, effort and volunteers needed to make a project come together. The excitement and passion of these kids that are given the opportunity to receive the gift of music is the result,” said Karen.

Looking ahead into 2017, foundation members are working with Chartier, a French styled restaurant in Beaumont, to plan a fundraiser in August. This is on top of all the regular work the foundation does and strives towards providing musical opportunities for youth who can’t regularly access it. 

The very basis of the foundation was a dream of Thad’s and it’s come true, which continues to allow everyone close to Thad to carry on his memory. 

“When Thad’s family does any work for the foundation they view it as carrying on Thad’s dream, carrying his memory forward. [I do] a lot of the leg work, make contacts, deliveries and pick up instruments and funding. [I feel] “orchestrating” the work of the foundation and every step [I take my son is with me].

Tony, Thad’s dad, participates in the electronic end, maintains and updates Facebook page and emails. Tyson and Jillian, his siblings, support with fundraisers, planning, and creative ideas,” said Karen.

For more information on the foundation contact

Source: Beaumont News


Last updated on: 2016-12-22 | Link to this post