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.”