In February 2013 Elijah Von Cramon of the Charlotte rock band Paint Fumes was hit by a car near his home on Parkwood Avenue.
In November 2014 Animals’ drummer Luke Hill was struck by a hit-and-run driver in the NoDa neighborhood while walking home from work.
Last week, Charlotte visual artist Joe Borruso was hit by a vehicle on Parkwood not far from where Von Cramon was struck. Borruso lost part of his leg and suffered cranial bleeding. He’s undergone seven surgeries on his leg, crushed lower lumbar, shattered knee, broken fingers and severed hand since the June 28 accident. The driver was charged with DWI.
In each case, friends organized benefit concerts to help offset mounting medical bills and loss of income. Sunday the Neighborhood Theatre hosts a fundraiser for Borruso featuring Charlotte-based musicians Adam Lazzara and John Nolan from the band Taking Back Sunday, along with several other local musicians including Von Cramon’s and Hill’s bands.
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“We don’t know Joe that well, but we’re off tour right now and it’s just such a tragic thing, we wanted to do what we could to help out,” says Nolan.
Hill was the first to volunteer to play when concert organizer Justin Smith posted about the fundraising effort. With 11 acts on the bill, Smith had to turn some volunteers away. There will also be a raffle early in the night for those who want to support the cause, but don’t want to stay for the concert.
Smith calls Borruso, 30, one of the “most loving dudes I know” and one of the “easiest friends to have.” Others describe him as a very active person.
Kimberly Borruso, the victim’s mother, says she’s overwhelmed with the outpouring from the community. A YouCaring.com site set up in his name has raised nearly $16,000 as of Wednesday afternoon. She found more than 200 messages and texts after a friend fixed his bloodied, shattered phone; another fundraiser was held at Snug Harbor last weekend.
Businesses like Twenty-Two, Central Coffee, Common Market and Luna’s Living Kitchen, where Borruso has worked, have offered gifts, donations and a portion of proceeds.
“He loves this area, and now I know why,” says Kimberly Borruso, who admits before the accident she didn’t understand her son’s choice to reside in an artsy neighborhood while his family lived at the lake.
“I did it for years – ‘Look at all those tattoos.’ I was that person,” she adds of her initial reaction to his friends and neighbors. “This community has rallied behind him. The only thing that’s been my saving grace in scrolling through these messages and phone calls. All these people who I don’t even know didn’t let me lose my spirit.”
The last thing her son remembers is helping a homeless man move a room divider Borruso had put on the curb for city trash pickup.
“He wasn’t jaywalking,” she adds. Like many residents, she remains concerned that this isn’t the first incident of its kind in the neighborhood.
“How many people have to get hurt on that road when there’s evidence this road is dangerous? We make all these improvements to these areas. How about the area that’s been there forever? It’s a different artsy-fartsy part of town, but people love that area and they go there and see the uniqueness of the people and their individuality.”
Courtney’s blog: cltsoundbites.blogspot.com
Benefit show for Joe Borruso
Performers include Taking Back Sunday’s John Nolan and Adam Lazzara, Animals, Paint Fumes, MTHR, Modern Primitives, Aswell, Shadowgraphs, Fat Geoff, Bo White y Su Orquesta, Cabron, DJ Elon & Buckmaster
WHEN: 6 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St.
DETAILS: 704-942-7997; www.neighborhoodtheatre.com.