6 Stars offer help Ajax’s Matt Brann and actor Russell Crowe do their part for autism awareness Cinderella man delivers ■ WHILE ON the set of Cinderalla Man Pickering’s Melissa Kosteski, seen here with Tommy Fiala, asked star Russell Crowe to donate something to the Autism Society Ontario — Durham chapter. The next day, he gave the autism therapist an Everlast boxing glove signed, ‘I glove you. Russell Crowe, 2004.’ The item is on the auction block at eBay for charity. Durham Sun ● July 24 ● 2005 DURHAM news: This Week ■ AJAX’S MATT Brann is an example of a rock star with his priorites in the right order. 10-year-son, Tommy, was diagnosed with autism seven years ago. “He’s an awesome AS AVRIL Lavigne’s little guy. He’s busy … I’ve drummer, Matt Brann has watched his mom with him been travelling the world on and it’s a 24/7 job,” says a tour that’s taken him to Brann. “The government has Europe, South Africa and cut funding for these Hong Kong. But on a recent children. I’d love for one of trip home, catching up with those politicians to have a family and friends in Ajax child with autism and see if included drumming up they’d still be so willing to awareness of autism. cut funding.” “For Increasing ‘If I can lend any awareness of parents, it’s a lifetime job to is support or draw any autism monitor important, says children with attention to autism, Fiala. “I can autism. If I experience hard how could I not times with can lend any support or Tommy in do that.’ draw any public — he — Matt Brann attention to talks out loud autism, how could I not do inappropriately, makes that?” says the 24-year-old, a strange sounds and it seems patron for the Autism to other people that he’s Society Ontario-Durham misbehaving,” she says. “I Chapter. wish they understood that he He displayed the chapter’s has his own way of reacting logo on his drums at to the world around him. Lavigne’s July 15 concert at That’s why I’m so happy and Air Canada Centre in grateful that young people Toronto. “Hopefully, it will like Matt get involved and draw some attention to help us with autism autism and encourage people awareness.” to find out more,” says After months of touring, Brann. He has previously Brann spent a few days in donated drumsticks and Ajax while performing in other concert memorabilia to and around Toronto. “It’s raise funds for the good to be home. I’m gone organization. almost all the time, so it’s His lent his name to the good to hang and see my cause after his parents’ family and friends,” says the neighbour, Yvette Fiala, Exeter High School grad. asked him for support. Her “It’s takes a bit of LINDA WHITE Special to The Durham Sun decompressing. It’s go, go, go on the road. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best job in the world, but you can be in Hong Kong and just want to go out for a sub. It can be a little long sometimes.” South Africa tops Brann’s list of favourite places visited. The band performed in Johannesburg and Cape Town. “We had three days off and our tour manager scheduled us to visit a huge lion safari, with wild elephants roaming around. It was great watching the sun come up.” He credits his big break to his buddies in Sum 41, whose band members also hail from Ajax. “We’ve known each other since we were little kids. I grew up in high school bands and they did their thing. They told me to keep playing and they’d find me a band. “When their manager signed a new artist and wanted to put together a young band, they called me. I didn’t know if I wanted to play with a girl singer. I had played in heavier bands. But when I heard a track, I thought, ‘This is going to be huge.’ I met with Avril, had dinner, went to a few rehearsals and was signed.” Bann will be soon heading to Argentina and Buenos Aries on the South American leg of Lavigne’s tour. “After that, we’ll be ready for a nice long break. We’ve been going pretty hard. Avril’s going to start writing and then we’ll be back at it again.” ■ BRANN AT his ‘day job’ drumming for Avril Lavigne.
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