San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
When & Where
The Andrew Wade Friendship Foundation
The Andrew Wade Friendship Foundation exists to create a kinder and safer world for those impacted by mental illness. This includes those brave individuals who live with a mental illness, as well as the people who love them. All parties can feel frightened and helpless as a serious mental illness takes hold, most typically in late adolescence or early adulthood. Increasingly, as a society, we are all potentially impacted by mental illness when the thoughts and impulses generated by the disease are destructive, to self and/or to others.
Andrew (Andy) Wade was a person of exceptional kindness who also possessed the gift of being able to accept and relate to people in all stations of life. He thrived on loving and being loved by his friends. He was a beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and uncle within a close and adoring family. He was quiet unless you knew him well, quick-witted, with a dry (arid) sense of humor and uncanny comedic timing. He was a great tennis player, a sports fanatic who, in junior high had memorized the mascots of every team in the NCAA, NFL (Go-Packers), and NBA (Go Lakers). He loved music. Listening to it. Playing it. He was a guitarist in a band called 'Uncle Funky'. Nothing made him happier. Andy suffered from episodes of depression throughout his life that became more serious during his first year of college. When he was 22-23 his thoughts and behavior became increasingly disordered and erratic. He was eventually hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In the year after his diagnosis he lived with great courage and dignity attempting to 'get his life back' as he adjusted to different dosages of medication, engaged in intensive therapy, volunteered at a homeless services center, returned to school and work. To those who were close to him, he seemed to be looking and feeling better and his life was coming together. In spite of these appearances of recovery, he left home one afternoon and didn't come back. The next day, October 14, 2011, the coroner came to the door of his family home with the tragic news that Andy's body had been found in the mountains, about 20 miles from home. He had jumped from a bridge. He was 24 years old. Andy is deeply missed, but his spirit of friendship and kindness live on in those who knew and loved him.
More information about Andy, and the foundation, is available at the foundation website.
The idea for The Friendship Festival as a music-filled event began with Andy's closest friends who met with Andy's parents and sister shortly after his death. Patrick O'Connor, Tim Spencer, Haley Clause and Liliana Neremberg were the initial core group that worked with Andy's family to bring the first Friendship Festival to life in honor of Andy's 25th birthday (February 10). The event was held at the Kingston Cafe in Pasadena, on February 12, 2012. On short notice 135 people attended. We raised funds for St. Francis Center near skid-row in Los Angeles, a food and services center for homeless and low-income people in the area. Andy had volunteered there for an extended period during his recovery. The Andy Wade Friendship Fund at St. Francis Center existed for the first two years after his death while plans for the foundation were evolving. Overall, this fund raised over $10,000. We are grateful to SFC for providing a place where our wishes for Andy's legacy could begin. Click for more information about St. Francis Center .