Our Volunteers all have different stories that bring them to MOC. Jeremy, a Volunteer Musician at Musicians On Call for over 6 years, pictured above leading the Yankees in a Bedside Performance during HOPE week 2014, has an especially touching story that drives his dedication to the healing power of music..
It was a beautiful April day in 2008 when I brought my oldest son, Zack, 15 yrs-old, to his pediatrician to take a look at a peculiar inflammation on his leg. Within 15 minutes of entering the examination room – having seen the horrified look on my son’s pediatrician’s face – we were heading toward Mt. Sinai for a scan. It wasn’t but a couple hours later, the moment the pediatric oncologist walked up to me, knowing what I was about to hear, my whole body numb, that I realized everything as I knew it was about to change forever. Zack didn’t get to go home that day. He was expecting to hang out with his friends – to continue his teenage years like everyone else. Instead, he got to have his first round of chemotherapy. A few months later, his left leg amputated above the knee. A short time after that, two lung surgeries to remove bone nodules growing in his lungs. And after 17 months of nothing but torture, sadness and heartbreak, Zack suffocated to death.
After watching all that his son had to go through, Jeremy thought about what he could do for patients and families in a similar situation.
I tell you this to emphasize the vacuum of existence that a family enters when they are told one of their children has cancer. The rigor of treatment, and the often devastating results put the family in a place which is rife with sadness and pain on so many levels. I’m sure you all have heard or experienced – in your own family, or from friends – similar stories. And so you can understand my passion for what music can do to bring peace. There are very few peaceful moments in the journey which is cancer or during the challenges of any serious illness. Music can be one of them.
Jeremy now hosts an annual fundraiser through his organization, the Purple Hat Foundation, to help support Musicians On Call and our efforts to bring musicians to the bedsides of patients. You can help him reach his goal by donating here.
Jeremy received the New York Volunteer Musician award in 2014 at our 15th Anniversary event. You can join us as we honor our Volunteer Musician Ken Knowlton and Volunteer Guide Karen Cook at our 2017 event here.
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