As I became familiar with the story of kindie music makers and mentors Princess Katie and Racer Steve, I learned they started out performing in children’s hospitals. My travel patterns of late have been bringing me close to the Tomorrows Children’s hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center and my thoughts went to those kids who have to endure so many hours of downtime. Hearing the tunes of Alastair Moock that he had dedicated to his daughter who was drawn into a cancer battle at age 5 certainly pulled my focus that way as well.
All these influences led me to introduce myself to Sue at the Tomorrows Children’s Fund and offer a donation of my CD as well as my live performance services. Two weeks later, there I was, being led into the play room were I would share my calling with kids who could use a lift. The room was full of vibrant colors, caring adults with kind faces, more toys and games than you could imagine, even miniature foot-powered BMW replicas — and kids who had no intention of giving up their childhood to their circumstances. The unrelenting will to be a kid was apparent in the little girl who liked to “ride” on the IV dispenser she was connected to as it was wheeled around the room. Then there were the young ones whose varying degrees of hair loss only served to make their eyes at least ten times more expressive than usual.
It was that eye contact that will stay with me in the long run. As these youngsters took in my songs, both original and traditional, the music was stripped away of all the trappings of being an entertainer, right down to its very purpose for existing – the human connection, the contact, what’s in the words of the songs and what lives between those words. I want to perform for sick kids either for the rest of my life or until the sicknesses are permanently cured for kids everywhere (I can hope for the latter, right?) and I want my daughter (healthy as a horse, knock wood!!!) to know the pure, unaltered joy of sharing her gift with those most in need.
I wrestled a little with whether I’d publicly share news of this performance – after all I’d hate to cheapen this deeply moving experience down to a publicity stunt. In the end my decision was made by two hopes: that you the reader will learn more about the Tomorrows Children’s Fund and support it; and that you will be inspired to lend your special talent to someone who could really use it, as I was.
Tell your story of how you were moved by an act of kindness (and what it inspired you to do) in the comments below.
Please visit the Tomorrows Children’s Fund web site and if you like what they do, please consider a donation of money or time.