LGBTQ South Florida

South Beach Charity Angels make music to cheer up sick children and their families

Gustavo Briand, with the Charity Angels South Beach, encourages Carlos Jose Pazmino, 9, currently staying at Ronald McDonald House, to move with the music during a karaoke party at the charity residence in Civic Center, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. The event was hosted by Charity Angels South Beach, which throws the free parties every month alternating between the Miami and Fort Lauderdale locations of Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Gustavo Briand, with the Charity Angels South Beach, encourages Carlos Jose Pazmino, 9, currently staying at Ronald McDonald House, to move with the music during a karaoke party at the charity residence in Civic Center, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. The event was hosted by Charity Angels South Beach, which throws the free parties every month alternating between the Miami and Fort Lauderdale locations of Ronald McDonald House Charities. FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

Carlos Jose Pazmiño, 9, couldn’t stop dancing, clapping and singing along. For a couple of hours one night, he nearly forgot about the rare burned-retina condition that almost completely blinded him five years ago.

“I love to dance and sing. It makes me so happy,” said Carlos Jose, entertained Nov. 17 by a traveling group of South Beach Charity Angels, who perform monthly karaoke parties at Ronald McDonald Houses in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Carlos Jose and his mother, Lourdes, have been living at Ronald McDonald House at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for three months. They traveled from Ecuador in hopes of better medical treatment. “He is a very festive little boy,” Lourdes said.

To break up the many doctor visits and medical treatments, South Beach Charity Angels entertain sick youngsters and their families by singing their favorite songs, dancing and painting the kids’ faces.

“It is really an amazing event — these are kids with really serious medical problems,” said Charlotte Libov, founder of Sing Out, a South Florida-based Facebook music appreciation group with more than 1,100 members. “The parents and kids really get into it and if they can forget for an hour or two hours with what they are dealing with then it’s a wonderful thing.”

Gustavo Briand, a South Beach hair stylist, formed Charity Angels with a group of neighbors and friends after one night of karaoke at Magnum restaurant and bar in Miami.

“One night we were singing at Magnum and I told Charlotte, ‘I think were being very selfish here because we are singing here and having fun and there’s a lot of people who can benefit from this,’” Briand said.

Every third Monday of the month, South Beach Charity Angels goes to Ronald McDonald House at either Jackson in Miami or Broward Health Medical Center and sets up in the family dining room. Open Miik Karaoke entertainment provides the karaoke equipment, and Angels members bring refreshments for the kids and their families.

“It’s very hard to go forward because of the cost. We live out of donations,” Briand said. “People do come and they sing, but we need other people to collaborate.”

Briand and Libov say everyone is welcome to volunteer with South Beach Charity Angels.

“If everyone donated a couple of hours a month, imagine how this world be,” Briand said. “I would like to inspire people keep doing things for others with nothing in exchange. That’s really why I do this. For inspiration.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/groups/charityangels.

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