Toward the end of 2009 planet Earth lost one of the coolest people to ever walk upon it – my friend, Mat Arluck. In the short time I was lucky enough to know him, Mat made me laugh, gave me great advice about black metal, played with Teno, made me feel awesome about my chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes, played in one of my favorite bands and taught me a lot about taking the high road.
After a tough battle with cancer, Mat passed away at his parents house on Thanksgiving day, sending shock waves of grief throughout Chicago and the vast music and skateboarding communities he was so deeply involved in.
Out of our sorrow, however, there came something positive – an outpouring of support by Mat’s friends for Grind for Life, an organization started by pro-skateboarder Mike Rogers, to provide financial assistance to cancer patients and their families when traveling. I asked friends and family to donate in place of a gift for my birthday and was absolutely overwhelmed to raise over $800 in less than two weeks.
I recently read a letter from Grind for Life stating that thanks to Mat’s friends (and to those of you who donated for my birthday!) they were able to send $1000 to a three year old’s parents to help take him from California to New York for treatment. Turns out, it was one of Mat’s friends who referred the child’s family to Grind for Life – and Mat’s friends who helped that same child. Yep, Mat had some remarkable people in his life – just a testament to the kind of guy he was.
On February 4th Mat’s friends and family will come together at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago to celebrate Mat’s 40th birthday with a concert and auction benefiting Grind for Life. Some proceeds will also be put into a college fund for Mat’s nephews, Luke and Reece, whom he loved dearly.
If you knew Mat (or even if you didn’t), I hope you can make it, and I encourage you to buy your tickets early as he had lots of friends and we’re all excited to get together and remember him. You can see the band line up and buy your tickets on the Beat Kitchen site.
I’ll be there selling Mat’s favorite cupcakes – peanut butter and chocolate, although I’ve heard he cheated on me with some other cupcakes that will be for sale as well – along with some of my greatest hits (vegan Elvis comeback specials, French toast cupcakes, etc – baked in cute papers from Bake It Pretty) and treats donated from Letizia’s Natural Bakery and Angel Food Bakery. Shannon from Slash & Dine will be there helping me get the goods into your hands so some out and say hello! (Special thanks to Sweet Cuppin Cakes for all their help with this, too!) All the money, of course, will be going to the causes of the night.
I miss Mat every day, and I can’t wait to meet his family and to remember him with all the people who loved him. Thanks again to everyone who donated and who has helped me to get the word out. Stay tender.