On March 20th, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington would have turned 42 years-old. To honor the late rock musician, Bennington's wife and the rest of Linkin Park honored Bennington on his birthday with social media posts and a fundraising campaign to help others who might be suffering. Bennington died by suicide last July, so the band is now encouraging fans to support 320 Changes Direction, a campaign started by his widow Talinda in connection with The Campaign to Change Direction.
The campaign educates people on the five signs of emotional suffering (personality change, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care, hopelessness) and on the ways people considering suicide can seek and receive help. The campaign works to change how people talk about mental help and streamlines the various resources available to those at risk. "Wishing a happy birthday to our brother @ChesterBe today,” Linkin Park wrote on its official Facebook page. "In his honor, we are launching a fundraiser right here on Facebook via Music for Relief’s ONE MORE LIGHT FUND, benefiting 320 Changes Direction, a partnership between Talinda Bennington and The Campaign to Change Direction."
The band set out to raise $40,000 for the cause on Facebook. It made its goal and a bit more, raising $42,909 with 1,957 individual donors in just 24 hours.
In addition to the fundraising efforts, according to Entertainment Tonight, Talinda encouraged fans to raise awareness for the campaign and its efforts by posting pictures on social media that displayed their hands with the words "I AM THE CHANGE." She named the charity 320 Changes Direction after Bennington's birthday, March 20. The former model and mother of three posted her own version of this picture on Instagram, writing, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY my love @ChesterBe. From the day we met, you have changed me for the better. Today, I honor you. RIP BOO."
Others followed Talinda's lead with their own similar pictures, including fans of the musician and several famous friends and admirers of Bennington's work, like the lead singer of Imagine Dragons Dan Reynolds, actor Ken (The Hangover, Community), and professional race car driver Maro Engel.
This is not the first time Bennington's band and his family has paid tribute to the rocker and raised money in his name. Last October, the band organized a massive tribute concert called "Linkin Park and Friends: Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington" at the Hollywood Bowl. It was the five surviving members of the band's first public performance after the singer's death and included special guests from blink-182, System of a Down, Sum 41, Yellowcard and more. The performance raised money for the One Light Fund, a Bennington-inspired offshoot of Music for Relief, a charitable organization that Linkin Park established in 2004 to help people around the world after natural disasters like devastating hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes.
As the band was announcing its concert, it also released the moving music video for "One More Light," a single off their seventh studio album of the same name. The video, which features vocals Bennington recorded before he died, includes footage of the musician as he is surrounded by fans. Though the song was originally written in memory of another friend who died of cancer, it took on an additional meaning after Bennington's death.
"One More Light was written with the intention of sending love to those who lost someone," Linkin Park co-founder and the co-writer of the song Mike Shinoda wrote on 320 Change Direction. "We now find ourselves on the receiving end. In memorial events, art, videos, and images, fans all over the world have gravitated towards this song as their declaration of love and support for the band and the memory of our dear friend, Chester. We are so very grateful and can’t wait to see you again.”
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.