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BRTV | Honoring the Blasdell Legacy of Love and Acceptance

The old saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” couldn’t be truer in the case of Michael Blasdell and his parents Jack and Mary Blasdell. Michael is the type of person who hugs you with his smile and welcomes you with his eyes. Upon first meeting him, one can’t help but be reminded that all of the incredible things humans are capable of like love, kindness and compassion, are not simply biological traits, but also things learned and taught. Jack and Mary Blasdell instilled these important truths in over 750 children in foster care throughout the course of their marriage and lives. For many, they represented a story of  hope, new beginnings, and most importantly, what it means to be a family.

Michael was adopted into the Blasdell family when he was just 5 days old. “My parents started doing foster care, specializing in children with high medical needs and attention,” Michael continued, “anything from fetal alcohol syndrome to autism. Those are the children they thought needed the most care and attention.”

Life in the Blasdell household was full of life, and there was always enough love to go around to the dozens of children that walked through the door each day. “We are a sideshow circus of a family but it works. We all have so many different personalities and it just meshes so well.” Michael explained, “Our house growing up had sometimes 15 people in a house at one time. It was a seven bedroom house with a bath and a half and it was crazy but it worked. I mean some days it wouldn’t even just be foster kids here. My sister’s friends who would run away from home always ran to our house. My parents never batted an eye. Everyone was always welcome and greeted with a, ‘stay as long as you want.’”

Mary and Jack had a marriage centered around service, and their love for each other in over 40 years of marriage was the root of their stability. Jack passed away on February 12, 2021, leaving the world a better and brighter place simply because he existed within it. “My dad was always a stay at home dad with all the kids. He was truly ‘Mr. Mom.’ He made it to every sporting event that he could, and sports was one of the biggest connections we all had with my dad.” Michael shared memories of summer days driving down country roads with his dad, passing fields full of crops, and his dad knowing exactly what was planted there. “He’d say things like, “that’s cabbage over there, that’s broccoli, and those are green beans.’ My dad was a farm boy through and through, every ounce of his blood was farming.”

Through the acceptance and encouragement of his beloved parents, Michael has been able to truly tap into parts of himself without fear, and grow deeper in the things that bring him joy. “I’ve always been in performance. Now I do drag under the name Bebe Bvlgari. Some may even know me as the Dancing Diamond! This really is my form of theater. I’m not just a drag queen- I am an entertainer.” Michael continued, “My mom thinks that my career should have been a Broadway performer. Honestly my parents just raised me to never care what people think! I mean just look at my family, we were mixed all over the place. My parents are amazing in supporting me in that way.”

With the passing of his father, his mother is left to care for their property, and children remaining in the house. Michael has made a GoFundMe page in memory of his father in order to assist his mother in caring for his brother Anthony who has high medical needs, his sister and her child who are both physically disabled, along with his nephew and three children. “I want to make sure everything is safe for my mom, and to make sure she has a nice cushion I’ll do anything to be able to pay my parents back for making me the person I am today.” Michael continued, “It was 650 foster kids when I was 16 and those doors never closed and they still don’t. My dad’s legacy is going to be forever living inside of me and the family he created.”

Click here to donate to the Blasdell’s GoFundMe.

Written by Liberty Darr
Photography and Editing by Vincent Berbano
Produced by George Johnson and Jessica Marinelli

Written by Liberty Darr

Liberty Darr

I am a Buffalo State student studying journalism. I love writing, art, and meeting new people. When I’m not at school or work I enjoy reading/writing poetry and watching documentaries. My favorite dynamic duo is investigative journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. I’ve been a resident of Buffalo for quite some time and I still fall in love with something new about this city everyday.

View All Articles by Liberty Darr
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