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‘Hearts on Fire’ benefit concert on Sunday will honor the life of Jesse Lewis, victim of Sandy Hook tragedy

SANDY HOOK -- Jesse Lewis, who was only 6 and a half years old when he was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, would have entered his teenage years on Sunday.

This birthday marks a difficult one for his parents, Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin.

“Jesse has been gone longer out of our lives than he was with us,” said Heslin. “It can’t be true. He’s gone as long as he was with us in life.”

“Usually when I think about him, I think about him as being 6 years old because that was the last time that I saw him,” said Lewis. “But I do wonder what he’d be like at 13.”

So they want to celebrate his birthday on Sunday, June 30. Both Lewis and Heslin are excited for their biggest annual fundraising event, the Choose Love ‘Hearts on Fire’ Benefit Concert, which begins at 3 p.m. at Ives Concert Park in Danbury. John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band will headline the event.

“There’s a lot of activities, a lot of food and it’s a birthday celebration,” said Heslin.

All proceeds for the event will benefit the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a safer and more peaceful world by giving all children access to social and emotional learning. The motto of the organization, “nurturing, healing, love,” has a special meaning.

“I saw a message Jesse had written on our kitchen chalkboard,” said Lewis. “It said ‘nurturing, healing, love,’ phonetically spelled because he was in first grade just learning to write.”

Loved ones are looking forward to coming together to remember Jesse.

“I know that his spirit will be there,” Lewis said. “We invite everybody to come and celebrate and in doing so you are being part of the solution.”

For information on admission click here.

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