NEWBURYPORT — Newburyport High School sophomore Jared Bedard has an outsized personality and he likes to dream big.
When he heard that pop star Justin Bieber had pledged to meet the person who raised the most money to help cure atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT) by July 1, he jumped at the chance, embarking on a fundraising tour of Newburyport.
It’s good that Jared likes to dream big because he won the bid to see his idol, raising $7,040 for Cure AT/RT Now.
“I feel blessed,” said Jared’s mom, Karen Bedard. “I am totally amazed by all the love and support that Jared has had throughout this whole thing. Everybody that knows Jared knows his love for Justin Bieber and his love for music. I’m in shock. I never in my wildest dreams thought we would raise this much money. I just didn’t.”
Late May and early June saw Jared either performing music or appearing at the local Orange Leaf, Not Your Average Joe’s and Port Tavern restaurants. Each of the establishments gave a percentage of their day’s proceeds to Jared’s cause, but it was the donations and raffles that raised the most money.
“He deserves it, he worked hard,” Bedard said of her son. “(But) honestly it was the community. The Newburyport family and friends and school people. All the people that know Jared.”
Each event built upon the last, often providing surprising results.
“Not Your Average Joe’s was blown away that night by the people that were there,” said Bedard, who estimates there were over 100 people at the local restaurant on June 11. “The manager told me he has never seen a fundraiser like this. It was pouring rain and he had sent the bartender home. He figured no one was going to be coming in that night and, on Tuesday nights, no one comes in anyway. Then, he couldn’t believe it and the Port Tavern was the same way. Pretty much everyone who is in there was in there for Jared.”
The Bedards were given the good news early this week.
“When I told Jared he was going to meet Justin Bieber, his response was, ‘I know that,’” said Bedard. “Then he looked at me and pretended like he was going to pass out and fell back on the couch.”
Jared will be meeting Beiber before his concert at the TD Garden on July 20. Regular plans for an event like this call for the family to be flown out to the concert, but since the Bedards live in Newburyport, they will be driving down to Boston. So Bieber’s people threw in a voucher for $250 that Bedard said she plans to use for a car and a motel with a pool along the way.
“Just so he doesn’t feel like we’re going down there in my car,” said Bedard. “You know, the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle.”
Once at the show, the Bedards will meet with Bieber before the show, for which they have also been given tickets.
“There will be other people at the meet and greet,” said Bedard. “I’m sure it won’t be a one on one thing. Jared is not going to be in a room alone with Justin Bieber.”
Given Bieber’s fondness for the 6-year-old Merrimac girl, Avalanna Routh, who passed away from AT/RT last year, stranger thing have happened.
“I just can’t believe this,” said Bedard. “I know how many people know of Jared and just the community itself with all the people who came out and supported him and loved him, that know his story. It’s overwhelming.”