Fourth annual event will entertain, educate while setting aim at world record
That’s what the Swimmer family entered in the days after learning 15-year-old Mason had bone cancer. Scott Swimmer, Mason’s father, was forced to watch as his son went through months of intense treatments and surgeries as doctors battled the disease.
In the end, Mason was declared cancer-free, a status he proudly maintains today. And through his struggles, a movement was born to help others like Mason be able to call themselves cancer-free one day.
Scott Swimmer founded DrumsForCures in 2006, which was quickly followed by the inaugural DrumSTRONG festival in 2007. The event helps raise funds for and awareness of support groups fighting cancer – in hopes the next family to battle cancer might have an easier hill to climb.
This year’s event, taking place on Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22, aims to be bigger, better and more entertaining than any past DrumSTRONG. At the event’s focal point will be the non-stop Drum Circle, where professional, amateur and new drummers will gather as individuals or teams to play for as long as possible toward the ultimate goal of drumming for 29 consecutive hours. That would potentially break the record for the longest and possibly largest continuous rhythm drum circle ever.
In addition to the Drum Circle, organizers will have a Health Expo, where health groups, cancer foundations and local community resources will be available to the public.
“DrumSTRONG is a bit of a three-ring circus,” Scott Swimmer said. “It gives health-care resources a platform to showcase their talents and gives people the opportunity to make donations to a number of worthy causes.”
Organizations like the Levine Children’s Hospital, the Love Hope Strength Foundation, Carolina Breast Friends and the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults all have benefited from the annual event, happening this year at Misty Meadows Farm, 455 Providence Road South in Weddington.
Swimmer also hopes to raise the profile of lesser-known, but equally vital groups like SuperSibs!, a nonprofit that supports and honors the siblings of children diagnosed with cancer.
While people can “bring something to bang on” if they want, Swimmer said percussion pieces like tambourines, shakers and more will be available for sale. Drum instruction also will be onsite throughout the weekend, as well as children’s activities like face painting, puppets and more.
“DrumSTRONG has raised approximately $150,000 each year,” Scott Swimmer said. “We’d love to move the needle on that this year.”
Current registration numbers show that goal might be within reach. “About 800 people attended the first DrumSTRONG, and this year we are expecting upward of 5,000,” Scott Swimmer added.
Want to go?
The fourth annual DrumSTRONG cancer research fundraiser will take place Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22, at Misty Meadows Farm, 455 Providence Road South, Weddington. Cost is $25 per person, or $50 for a family. For more information, visit www.drumstrong.org or e-mail Scott Swimmer at firstname.lastname@example.org