A mother’s grief gives others a chance

By Page H. Gifford

Barbara Cary lost her son Adrian on November 2, 2019, due to complications during heart surgery. He was young, the father of two and though two years later Cary’s grief is still strong, she sees it as a way to give to others.

 “Grief is a horrible thing, and it never goes away.  Michael and I think about Adrian every day; we cry because we miss him so much, we laugh when we think about funny things he did and we imagined what his accomplishments would be if he were still with us,” Her reflection on her grief is like many who have lost those that we have loved. “We did some things in his memory but it seemed like we needed to do more.”

Doing more meant starting the Adrian Maurice Cary Scholarship Fund to help high school graduates with college expenses that are costly and stressful.  Last year, she said that with the help and support of so many families, friends, and a few businesses they were able to help two students: one received a $3,000 scholarship and  the other student received a $500 grant from Dominion Energy and a $250 gift card from Walmart and Food Lion.  

“We wanted to give back to the community in helping a student in memory of Adrian.  So many people were so generous that made it possible for us to give scholarships.  It was amazing how so many shared their love for Adrian by giving,” Cary said. Any Fluvanna County High School senior can apply.

This year, the fundraiser will be a car, bike, and truck show which Cary says she hopes will become an annual fundraiser. Last year it wasn’t held because of the pandemic. The Adrian Maurice Cary Scholarship Fund Car, Bike, and Truck Show will be held in April this year at  Fluvanna County High School. The show is open to all vehicles: cars, trucks, and motorcycles, antique or new.  

Adrian attended Fluvanna County High School. While attending VCU, he left for a while to look for a job to take care of his firstborn, Alana. After seven years of working at the Walmart Distribution Center at Zion Crossroads, he realized that he needed a degree to take care of his two daughters. Adrian worked two jobs while returning to college. With hard work and determination, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in computer and information science at East Coast Polytechnic Institute in Richmond. For his parents, his graduation was a proud day and a major accomplishment.  Adrian passed three years later after starting his career in IT.

“Adrian was a sweet, kind, and loving person. As a child, he always greeted everyone with a hug and he continued to  do so with a hug and a big bright smile and he loved to joke with people,” said Cary as she tells his story of his relationship with his daughters while putting himself through school to get his degree. “He loved and was so proud of his daughters, Alana and Amani.  Every day was special with them, but he especially loved to see them off their first day of school and gave them big teddy bears for Valentine’s Day. It was always something special with those teddy bears.”  

She added that family and friends would share Adrian’s stories with them.

 This young man said he had a hard time at VCU.  He said some days he did not have much to eat.  At his lowest moment, Adrian would always find him and say, “Hey man, come and get something to eat.”  Adrian would always look out for others and do whatever he could to help,” she said. “We talked with Adrian’s cousin last week that we had not seen in a while, and he said he started thinking about Adrian and began to cry.  A week later, we saw two of Adrian’s friends from high school that opened a barbershop in Fork Union and they talked about how they missed Adrian. This is the affect Adrian had on people; he will always be loved and missed.”

It is this remembrance that everyone shared that led to the scholarship, giving other college students the chance to focus on their studies and get ahead without worrying about the day-to-day things like eating. With college expenses skyrocketing, like Adrian, most students are determined to get their degrees and get ahead but have a hard time making it. Cary not only has a scholarship in her son’s name that can help students but has brought to light the seriousness of the affordability of college itself.

With this fundraiser, Cary is hoping people will “come and show off your pride and joy,” to help raise money for student’s college expenses.

“There will be trophies and raffles. Businesses have been very kind and generous  in donating and we hope many more will support this cause. I hope people will attend with their beautiful cars, trucks and motorcycles to make this a successful event.”

 This event will be held April 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is sponsored by the non-profit organization Providing Resources to Inspire, Develop, and Empower (PRIDE), Inc. PRIDE, Inc. was established in 2009  and incorporated in 2011.  To learn more about PRIDE visit their Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/A4PRIDE. Donations are tax-deductible.

For more information or to donate, contact Michael 434-842-3095 or Barbara Cary at 434-996-8628, Email: a4pride@gmail.com for early registration and vendor participation.

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