This is the first day of HOPE Week. As usual, the Yankees have given the media some advance notice about their plans, but the details are embargoed until noon on the day of each event. Here’s the team’s announcement about today’s first event. As always, these are incredible stories.
The New York Yankees are proud to kick off HOPE Week 2011 (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) on Monday by celebrating Daniel Trush and Daniel’s Music Foundation (DMF). Yankees players Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Francisco Cervelli, Hector Noesi and Chris Dickerson will celebrate the honorees by surprising them at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre prior to their Broadway debut. The players will rehearse with DMF singers and musicians, then take to the stage as part of the performance. The Yankees will then invite the group back to Yankee Stadium to sing the national anthem and attend that evening’s 7:05 p.m. game vs. Seattle.
The Yankees will be joined by former Yankee and Latin Grammy Award nominee Bernie Williams, Broadway stars from Anything Goes, Book of Mormon, Catch Me If You Can, Million Dollar Quartet and Wonderland along with other special guests, who will all lend their talents to the performance.
THE STORY OF DANIEL TRUSH AND DANIEL’S MUSIC FOUNDATION
In March 1997, one of five undiagnosed arterial brain aneurysms burst inside the head of then-12-year-old Daniel Trush. When he awoke after a 30-day coma, he could not speak or move, remaining largely incapacitated throughout his 341-day hospital stay.
Music was the most important part of Daniel’s healing process from Day 1. His father, Ken, sang to him in the hospital and kept music constantly playing on a bedside stereo. Upon returning home, Daniel embarked on music therapy classes, which sparked his mind, body and soul.
His transformation was so incredible that in February 2006, his family established Daniel’s Music Foundation (DMF), a not-for-profit organization which provides free music instruction to individuals with disabilities in the five boroughs of New York City. Programs are open to the widest range of individuals possible without limitations on age, disability or talent.
From one five-person class five years ago to 150 people in 26 on-site and three-off site classes today, DMF serves those with such disabilities as blindness, paralysis, autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, brain injury and other developmental disabilities. Classes regularly perform outreach at their twice-yearly music celebrations and offer customized performances at schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.
The entire Trush family participates in DMF, including Ken, who oversees the operations and finances of the foundation, Daniel’s mother Nancy, who supervises the functioning of the classes, and Daniel’s brother Michael, who serves as a mentor and informal counselor to many of the participants. Daniel focuses on the music itself in addition to being the life force of the foundation.
“Daniel could have been a victim,” Ken said. “He could have been a cheerleader, giving motivational speeches about how far he has come. But that Knute Rockne stuff only goes so far. He works with our students every day. He gives those with disabilities a forum where they can prosper and be the people they were meant to be.”