A Lasting Influence

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 Todd Larsen at home with his wife, Kelly, and son Garrett last October.

Irvine’s Todd Larsen passed away last fall.  He taught my son guitar for a few years and we enjoyed getting to know him and his family as Todd showed patience and gave praise during hours of lessons.  The last time I saw him, his wife Kelly was pregnant with their son Garrett.  This was a happy couple who cared the community and the community cared about them.

Todd was also a coach in the Irvine Swim League. Coaching and teaching were clearly passions of his.  He remains today one of the most positive people I’ve even met.  Todd was a man blessed not only with a gift to help inspire kids in Irvine through music and sports, but he was someone who showed incredible grace, courage and dignity.  For someone given a dire diagnosis, he was always hopeful, optimistic and always smiling.

Chixx Rule from Irvine

Neighbors who’ve known Todd, Kelly and Garrett, who turned two in December, had bracelets labeled TKG as the family and the Northwood/Northpark neighborhoods of Irvine battled his illness together.

Todd was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and he enduring a bone marrow transplant. He was 44 when he passed away last October from pneumonia and bacterial infections.  But Todd’s, and his family’s, influence on Irvine continues to this day.

Two youth bands formed by Todd and fully influenced by TKG, Chixx Rule and Express, will be performing at Huntington Beach Surf Nites on the corner of PCH & Main Street on Tuesday night, June 28, from 5:30 – 8pm.  Chixx Rule has a new video out on YouTube and the song is terrific.  It’s a wonderful progression of talent and skills from the members of the band and a fantastic tribute to TKG, the family that inspired these kids.

A website on Todd is still up.  You can see it here

There is a part of me that hopes one of these kids achieves major success in music and mentions Todd and his family when they accept their Grammy award.  But the simple truth is, their success comes everytime they hit a note just right, sing in harmony, or pick up that guitar because that is what Todd taught them to do.

As a parent, we sometimes forget all of the people who influence the lives of our children. But we never forget the ones who truly do.