When Barb Met Casey … in Her Own Words

The Excellent Adventures of Casey James’ Special Friends by Barbara Bortle

As many of you know, I am a very recent breast cancer survivor & my goal over the past year has been to get well enough to attend a Casey concert. His story & his music both touched my heart & served as a compelling inspiration in my battle with this disease. Having followed him since “that TV show”, I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many of his amazing fans online thru Twitter and FaceBook, but most significantly thru Shari Geller’s The Casey James Blog. One truly special fan in particular, Marie Leathem, had the idea of sponsoring me to go to Casey’s concert in Roanoke, VA on October 14th, at the annual Pajama Jam Breast Cancer Benefit held there in conjunction with a local radio station. Marie put the idea out there, and Casey’s awesome fans responded with true “Caseyness”, raising not only enough money to pay my expenses, but also enough to make a $1,312.00 donation to the American Cancer Society in Casey’s name. The following is the story of that magical evening.

I flew into Roanoke from New Orleans Friday afternoon & I was greeted by my dear friend, Painter, as I like to call her. She has been attendin Casey concerts all year & gettin Casey to sign pictures for me at nearly every show, as well as lettin me listen to him play via her cell phone. She had a few surprises up her
sleeve, it turned out…I turned around & there was another dear friend, NorthCountryGirl!!! NCG, as we call her, filled in when Painter couldn’t at gettin Casey to sign pictures for me at his shows. Then we went outside and there was a black stretch LIMO waitin to take us to the hotel!!!!! We were giddy like little kiddies the whole way there. Roanoke is a beautiful place, and the hotel was simply splendid. We went to our room to freshen up & then went out to get a bite to eat.

Earlier in the week leadin up to the show, I had been informed that David, Casey’s Sony guy, would be callin me to discuss & coordinate my meetin with Casey (SQUEE!), so every time my cell phone made a noise, the three of us would jump with anticipation. Of course, there was a copious amount of textin back & forth with Marie, so we got LOTS of exercise…lol. Back at the hotel, we checked out the arrangements for the show, which included a dinner & silent auction. We found out that we’d hafta line up outside in the courtyard to register & wait for the doors to the ballroom to open at 6 p.m. Now, just picture this…we’re all in our pj’s & there’s a gale force wind blowin out there & the line was around-the-corner long! I was freezin my brand new boobies off…lol…but it was well worth it to see Casey!!! And keep in mind, that all this time, we’re waitin for that call from David…we got word from Marie that it would be around the time sound check was goin on, so we settled down to wait….impatiently, I’m afraid.

Well, sound check came & went without a phone call, so I began to think it wasn’t gonna happen….you ALL know how guys are…they SAY they’ll call but they never DO! Lol… We cheered ourselves up by plannin to see Casey after the show when we hoped he’d come out to sign autographs & take pics with the fans. Finally, the doors opened & the line began movin….we were almost at the end of it, so by the time we got inside all the tables up front had been claimed. We found a spot in the very back, but centrally located, so we could see alright. It was just a tad too far back to take any really good pictures, tho, and the music comin over the PA system was ear-splittin, so I put my phone on vibrate, just in case THE CALL came thru. Then I got a text…from DAVID!!! It said that they wouldn’t let us down, not to worry, they weren’t at the hotel yet, but they’d see us after Casey’s set. I texted my thanks back & that we were all lookin forward to meetin them. Then we finally were able to breathe again & relax a lil bit…lol

Hunter Hayes came on stage to play & he was very entertaining…the dinner was buffet style, so we had to get up to get our food, but I took that phone with me, just in Casey! Right near the end of Hunter’s set, my phone vibrated again…it was another text from DAVID!!! He asked if we could come to one of the meetin rooms right NOW…I said lemme think about it…hah! I texted back “sure” & told Painter & NCG to come on!!! We moved outta there like Commandos on a mission to save the free world…lol We found a nice lady who said she’d take us to the meetin room & before we knew it, we were in the same room with CASEY!!!!!!!!!! (in his robe & pajamas!!!!)

There were some other people in there for what I guess was a radio station
meet & greet…David introduced us as “special friends” and we waited until
they were all done before it was our turn. This was my first glimpse of Casey up
close & personal….I gotta tell y’all….pictures don’t do him justice….he is
INFINITELY more gawjus in person!!! I had brought with me all the pictures
he’d signed…on one of them he’d written “Get well soon & come get a
HUG!”…so I got that one out, as well as the donation check to give him, and
waited for my turn. Casey looked up at us & he recognized Painter…his face lit
up the whole room & he said “Hi!!! It’s great to see you again!!” I’m kinda fuzzy
about what happened next, but then I was standin in front of him & showin him
the “HUG” picture he’d signed…I told him I had come to collect it & he said,
“Well, here it is!” Then he gave me the biggest, bestest bear hug I have ever had
in my life!!!! It was sheer heaven….he just holds on for dear life. I totally forgot to sniff him…or even breathe!!! When the hug was over, he still kinda had his arm around me for a while….awwww, So Sweet!!! Then I told him that not only did his fans pay my expenses, but look at what else they did & I showed him the check. He was absolutely blown away by it….he was almost speechless. I think he got a lil bit choked up…the look on his face was pure awe. I told him that it was his fans showing their “Caseyness”, spreading love & good works…he said, “You’re too kind”…and I told him “No, Casey, this is all because of YOU & your music…you have touched so many people by your example.” He was so humble & appreciative…listenin so intently to what I was sayin…it was just incredible! Then I told him how his struggle with the accident served as my inspiration thru my battle…that I thought of him in that wheel chair tryin to learn how to walk & play guitar again, and I’d think “If Casey can do THAT, then I can do this”…and he said “Awwww” & he gave me ANOTHER enormous hug…OMG!!! I just about died that very moment! He is the sweetest, most adorable Dawlin ever & I’m getting choked up just rememberin it all. At some point I asked him to do a special favor for me & he said he would. I also invited him to New Orleans & he said he’d love to come, that he has family there! Then I asked him to sing my tee shirt & he wrote “That was a great hug! Great to meet you! Love, CJ” I thanked him & it was over…time to let Painter & NCG have some face time with him. We took a group picture, which was fun because the radio station guys & David were all takin pictures with our various cameras & kept messin up, so we’d hafta pose again & again!!! We all thanked David & then went back to the ballroom for Casey’s set.

Barbara showing Casey all the pictures he'd signed for her

Y’all have seen the videos & pics from Casey’s performance by now, so I won’t
be redundant here, except to say that when Casey played his single Let’s Don’t
Call It a Night, the ENTIRE room erupted in hoots & hollahs & applause!!! And
by the time he finished with Poke Salad Annie, they were all on their feet
screamin & cheerin for more!!! He won over many new fans that night with his
music, his amazin guitar skills, and his incredibly charmin ways. He is gonna be
SUCH a big star soon…I’m glad I got to meet him now, cuz before we know it,
we won’t be able to get next to him like we can in these early days of his career.

When Casey came out after the show, we waited in line to see him one last time.
I just wanted to thank him again for bein So Sweet to me…the line was LONG,
lemme tell y’all! At one point, poor Casey looked out over the line & just sighed,
but he never lost that beautiful smile on his face for one second. When he saw us
waitin, his face lit up again & he gave us an incredibly special smile. I told him I
just wanted to thank him again…he came around the table to give me
ANOTHER huge hug!!!! OMG!!! How lucky am I??? I reminded him about
comin to New Orleans & he said he would (YAY!) & then I checked with David
to make sure he gave the donation check to the right people. He had forgotten
(men!), so he checked with the radio station people & they said they would
make sure it was delivered to the American Cancer Society. Then he said he’d
see us in New Orleans at the Cafe du Monde & I said we’d all have beignets!!!!

In closing….y’all were thinkin I’d never get to the end, right? lol…I just want to express my deep, deep gratitude for what y’all have done to make my dream
come true in such a special & unforgettable way. I feel like I’m finally livin MY
life again, and it’s all thanks to your Caseyness!!!

Much, much love,


About Shari

Creator and Administrator of The Casey James Blog.
This entry was posted in Articles, Casey James, News, Photos and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to When Barb Met Casey … in Her Own Words

  1. Inconnu says:

    Thank you for sharing. I cried the whole way through it.

  2. Jeanette says:

    I cried, Barb. Good thing I live alone. Didn’t have to explain the tears. So happy for you. By the way, excellent writting. You have a gift.

  3. Joan Carey says:

    So glad you go to see him and meet him. Thanks for putting your story into words for us.

  4. Neet says:

    What an incredible story – had tears in my eyes through most of it. So so happy you had the opportunity to get to finally meet Casey and get three hugs!!! I’m so envious. (in a good way). Watching the videos just made it so clear what an awesome person Casey is. His warmth, kindness, and compassion are so evident in his gestures, his words, and his music. I’ve been a fan since about the 3rd week of that show and will be for life. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you Daydreaminmeme/Barb, for sharing your experience with this wonderful recap!! I am so happy your dream come to reality!! It was great meeting you! Casey fans ROCK!! This was amazing that this was brought to life for you! He is the sweetest and has some of the sweetest fans too! I know you will never forget this most memorable moment! I know it was worth the wait!! 🙂

  6. Laura says:

    Barbara, what a great story! I am glad that you got your hug! You are an inspiration♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  7. Barb….your adventure and your story are so heartwarming. I was so appreciative that Marie gave us the opportunity to be a part of this. I’ve found that Casey is the best medicine of all. And seeing your smiles is priceless.

  8. Kath says:

    This is so special on so many levels – so much love and generosity shared by so many. Thank you for sharing such a heartwarming story. So happy for you and for your recovery!

  9. Karen says:

    Barb, thanks so much for telling us about your incredible experience of meeting Casey! You had me crying hearing your story and I’m so happy you finally got to meet him and get your “hugs”! 😀
    I love him more and more hearing what a sweet, genuine person that he is!

  10. Well, that was exactly the happy ending we all wanted to hear, Barb. I’m so glad it worked out so perfectly–except for the back of the room seats–darn! Casey came through with the kind of heartfelt response I knew he would. He reaffirms my belief in him every day. Thank you for taking the time to tell us all about it. That and the little wiggle he gave everyone at the end of his set made for a truly memorable night–even for those of us who only shared it online.

  11. Jen Lloyd (CJFan_Jen) says:

    Awesome. Truly awesome. Thanks for sharing for story:) Now I’ll go read it again since I cried through it the first time! So pleased you got your moment, he’s a great guy with a good heart, and I’m sure he felt blessed to have the opportunity to meet such an amazing lady like yourself:)

  12. maria says:

    so happy for you, Barb. just think, you will probably always have a special place in Casey’s heart. how many of us are lucky enough to say that?!

  13. Perfect recap, Meme. I was all prepared to be “p.o.p.” (“puddleofpainter”) when it happened but I kept composed, (much to my surprise) as did NCG (for the most part) but I guess it wasn’t til I read your words afterwards I let myself truly tear up. Hm, I wonder what the “special favor” was?

    I won’t add anything except when we returned to our table after being “paged” to the “Buck Mountain room” there were 5 very envious women back at our table waiting to see our pics our on cameras and I do believe they are all now big CJ fans. StarCountry 94.9’s play schedule for LDCIAN ensured that the room of already party-oriented women was ready to clap along all the way; and by the, um, “end,” Casey had given them exactly what they had been lookin for! Borrowed too-short pajama bottoms and hotel room robe were a cute touch!

  14. Gail V. says:

    Barb, I am so glad that you had that magical evening. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is a beautiful inspiring story. And of course you and Casey both are inspiring people. Thanks to Marie for letting us be a part of it, and thanks to Casey for making it reality…..:)

  15. Carman (coolcjfan) says:

    Such a sweet and heartwarming story, Meme. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us. I couldn’t be happier that it worked out so perfectly. Painter sure knows how to take care of her friends, so sweet of her to do those special things for you!! I plan to come to N’awlins when Casey does, I so want to meet you in person!!

    • TCJB says:

      Barbara is blessed with a lot of friends, from Painter and NorthCountryGal getting her the autographs and keeping her spirits up, to the Casey fans who raised money to send her to see Casey, to Marie Leathem who came up with the crazy idea in the first place to raise money to send Barbara to Pajama Jam and organized the whole plan, to David and the rest of the people behind the scenes at Sony. It’s been really heartwarming to see all these people come together and to know that Casey was the link that pulled it all together. We here at The Casey James Blog could not be happier or more proud! – SG

      • daydreaminmeme says:

        And may I add, that without Shari’s marvelous blog, none of us would have come together & none of this would have been possible! So an enormous THANK YOU to Shari as well, for this awesome place where we can come & find out all the latest about Casey & share our experiences, and for her behind-the-scenes efforts on my behalf throughout this whole incredible adventure. Luvya, Dawlin!!! ,#

  16. Rhonda Nelson says:

    I had chills the entire time I read your recap Meme and still do. Yours is a story that has humbled and inspired every one of us for over a year now and to have such a beautiful recap of your meeting with Casey is so inspirational!! I am so, so happy for you and know that we will all be talking about this particular Casey meeting for a long time to come. It personifies the very thing that drew us to Casey and his music in the first place. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  17. Debi Adams says:

    Barb, I cried & cried reading this! All the way until David says they’ll meet you at Cafe du Monde & I just froze!!! Couldn’t even breathe for a few seconds. I was just there a few weeks ago & could absolutely picture y’all being there… and I just happen to run into y’all!! 🙂 I have been praying that he would come to La so I really do expect to see him here. Until then, I will just have to live vicariously through you! Thanks for such a wonderful narrative. Love & hugs!!

    What an incredible experience.

  18. Ana Lúcia Perfoncio says:

    I loved your story, Barbara! Is a rich experience of love, determination and hope!
    Just like you I’m proud to be a fan of Casey James!
    Thank you for sharing with us!
    I love you!!!! 🙂

  19. Delores Fields says:

    So so happy for you Barb!! All Casey fans are always honored to help each other! You so deserved this! Knew Casey would make it special…he always does! God’s blessings for you and continued prayers from this Casey fan to you!

  20. cynyn says:

    Dear Barbara, Thank you so much for the happy story, I laughed at every turn, congratulations on getting well enough to meet and hug and experience the “gawjus”, “amazin” Casey James that has helped you get through this time. What a wonderful thing people did for you. Really an uplifting story.

  21. Maki P. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful, heartwarming story, Barb. I couldn’t help but cry (and smile:-) when I saw the picture of you claiming his bear hugs. You and Casey are both inspiring!

  22. Sandra says:

    this shows what a great and talented guy he is…. I could see it when he was in Den trying out for the TV show as she put it..When they gave him such a bad time and I feel Casey will be the biggest of all of them….Every time I hear him he just keeps getting better and better if thats possible…. . God Bless this women and what she went thru…

  23. Patty says:

    Barb, I am so happy your dream came true. 🙂


    Patty Wilkins xo

  24. jennifer bussone says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I smiled and cried through the whole thing. The whole thing….start to finish…just makes my heart happy. 🙂

  25. Outi says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Barbara! In more ways than just one your story is very inspiring. Lots of love 🙂

  26. Cherrel Underwood says:

    So happy for your wonderful Casey experience, Barb—especially those special hugs you received!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story with us! You are an inspiration! 🙂

  27. Vet says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking the time to share this with us, an awesome story!! what a blessing Casey coming into our lives has been! Blessings to you for good health girl, love to love

  28. Aunt Sherry says:

    Barb – thanks for sharing your wonderful story! Doubt that anyone read it with a dry eye. I love the term “Caseyness” because whenever I see it, I feel the awesome spirit of his fans…y’all are THE BEST!!!

  29. Patti (Caseyscrew205) says:

    Barb, loved reading your story, so touching. I’m glad it was everything you had hoped for and more. 🙂

  30. Joanie says:

    Thank you for sharing. Your story is such an inspiration! I am so glad you goto meet Casey and got all those hugs! He is so generous with them. I was at a table about 2 rows up from you and didn’t even know it. I would have loved to have met you. I got a picture and hug from Casey after the show, but couldn’t say a thing. I was just speechless. My friends couldn’t believe I didn’t say anthing as much as I love his music. So happy for you!

  31. Chris B. says:

    Love your story!! So happy that you finally got your Casey moment,what a special night !!! Thank-you for sharing it with us. Caseyness Forever !!!!

  32. Pingback: Fans Cannot Get Enough of Casey James | The Casey James Blog

  33. It will be good to finally meet you and get a chance to chat. I had planned to attend that event and couldn’t make it.

  34. kathyt1 says:

    I’m so glad that you got that personal Casey James “touch”…. What a blessing….

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