Why You Need To Know About “Life Under The Wheel”
Written by Derek Lavezzo on 3 September 2018
“We want to make it special.”
The words of Life Under The Wheel co-founder and director of operations Eli Pikaart when discussing the goal of the incredible non-profit organization she helped found.
Life Under The Wheel is a remarkable and extraordinary organization whose mission is to send people with life-threatening illnesses to music festivals across the country. They are still pretty new, with the discussion between the co-founders (Eli Pikaart and Evan Gross) stemming from a jolt in the night idea just 2 years ago, with the ball finally rolling just over a year ago.
Eli couldn’t have said it any better when I was asking her about Life Under The Wheel and the why of the whole thing. “Music festivals are special places,” she quipped. You could hear the passion in her voice as she explained the true uniqueness a music festival brings, from the experience itself to the lasting relationships built in the friendly confines of the festival grounds.
In relation to the people chosen for the experience of a lifetime, Eli said, “I don’t want to say it is a distraction from what’s going on, just that music festivals are a place to live for a weekend.” And the team at Life Under The Wheel truly goes all out to make that living something memorable.
These grants they award to the applicants or nominees are something exceptional themselves. The attention to detail and pure care for the chosen festival-goers shows the love their team has for what they do. They set up flights, hotel, travel to and from the festival, and medical needs for the patron; and that’s just before the festival.
On site, they have a knowledgeable concierge who is there for anything and everything the person needs. Eli herself has worn the concierge cap, and even Eli’s parents have joined in on the experience helping run the on-site booth. They want to make sure each person is taken care of and given their full attention.
They awarded their first grant at Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas, a festival near and dear to the organization’s heart. Grant number two went to another near and dear festival, Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival in Florida. And here they are on grant number three, working diligently once again with Life Is Beautiful.
So, how can you help? Spreading the word is the major one, Eli says. Social media is the dominant force in today’s world, and that is no different here. The more eyes on Life Under The Wheel, the more they can do. The second way to help is donating. Through their website you can donate once, or do a recurring donation.
If you’re willing to shell out money for monthly subscriptions to Netflix or Spotify, I don’t think adding one more subscription to help an amazing cause would hurt.
So, what’s next for Life Under The Wheel? With 2018 festival season dwindling down, the wheels are already in motion for an even bigger 2019. Their goal is to award 3-4 festival grants as they believe in quality over quantity, putting all of their time and attention into each grant. They also are in talks with various artists to join in on the cause whether it be through PSA’s or even meet and greets at the festivals themselves.
Life Under The Wheel is marvelous and brilliant in every way. From their love and care for each person they take care of, to the dedicated staff (Eli and Evan work on purely a volunteer basis), to the messages they send and the goals they wish to attain. I urge any and all to support this organization any way you can, as this is something profound that we should wish to see going for many years to come.
Written by: Derek Lavezzo