The people of Macon have long referred to the amazing city as the “Heart of Georgia”, given its location in the center of our state. However, recently the businesses, musicians, and residents of the city have demonstrated that the beloved moniker is much more than just a fun nickname. On Friday, January 20th, the creators and artists of Downtown Macon will come together at JBA for DARE TO LIVE, an evening of music, fellowship, and fundraising all for the cause of helping a local favorite, Daron Kline.
Kline, a former Kudzu Seafood employee and somewhat of a local celebrity in the downtown service industry has been diagnosed with late-stage liver failure and is currently working on getting included on the national donor list. Daron’s caretakers have also been applying for all financial aid that they can qualify for, but medical emergencies are a tremendous financial burden to have to navigate while still dealing with the medical issues themselves.
In order to lend a hand of help, several of Daron’s friends have come together to organize DARE TO LIVE, a night of music hosted by JBA in which local musicians and friends will play and raise money through sales and donations. Artists performing will be Nate Bedgood, Mike Smallwood, Justin Cutway, Scott Baston, Caleb Melvin, Brent Thomason, and Choir of Babble.
DARE TO LIVE will kick off at 7pm and 15% of all sales at JBA that day will be donated to the fund for Kline’s medical expenses. During the month of December, bars across downtown Macon offered “Shots for Daron” in which patrons could purchase a “shot” of water or a mocktail, and all the proceeds were donated to the cause. Also, on January 2oth, Macon Bagels, Kudzu Seafood, Reboot, JBA, Frankie’s, and The Bohemian Den will all be contributing to the fundraiser in various ways of their choosing including sales and specials.
In terms of the organizing of this event, JBA owner Brandon Lawler says that Brooke Scott and Lex Dowlan were more than instrumental in their spearheading of this fundraiser.
Scott Baston, one of the performers said this about the benefit, “Sometimes it takes an entire community of selfless individuals coming together to find the most positive solutions to life’s most challenging moments. This is one of those moments! Daron is an amazing light in this community. He has earned his spot as a beloved character to anyone who has had the pleasure of being in his presence. People like that are priceless in the world.”
Lawler also commented, “I think it’s fantastic to see all of these businesses and people coming together to help one of our own when he’s in trouble. In some cases, some of these business owners may not even know Daron personally but were still immediately gung-ho about helping him. To me, that really shows the tremendous sense of community in Downtown Macon, and that makes me proud to be a part of it.”
All proceeds from DARE TO LIVE and the fundraising that has been happening over the last month will go to help Daron Kline’s medical and living expenses including surgeries, medications, doctor visits, and lab work.
DARE TO LIVE, a fundraiser for Daron Kline is Friday, January 2oth at JBA, 499 MLK Jr. Blvd in Downtown Macon.
Matt McMillan is a poet and singer/songwriter from Rochelle, Georgia. He has a degree in Political Science and attended law school until deciding to fully devote himself to writing in 2020. McMillan has played his songs across the southeastern U.S. and hopes to continue pursuing music and poetry for as long as it keeps coming out. He currently lives in Macon, Georgia.