There is a great friendship between Nen Daiko and Julie Matthews, an amazing woman who has faced great challenges and persevered with a champion spirit and exuberant smile. She is a two-time leukemia survivor and was honored this year to be nominated for the 2011 Woman of the Year for the National Capital Area Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). It was a 10 week campaign focused on promoting awareness for leukemia and lymphoma and also for the LLS, its mission, and how they can help those facing the challenges of blood cancers (not to mention the funding for research to eradicate this horrible cancer!).
Julie threw an event on May 8th called Party in the Park, a family event with a BBQ feast, sack races, hula hoops, face-painting, and more. Nen Daiko was also honored and privileged to help Julie in her campaign by performing at the event.
It was a sunny day and we set up in a middle of a grassy field. One of our signature pieces, Kasumi, tells a story of a lonely garrison of soldiers standing firm despite an approaching army that massively outnumbered them. Despite the odds, the garrison refused to give up and played their gathered taiko loudly and fiercely, defiantly announcing through the thick mountain fog they would not give up and were ready to fight to the last man. Fearful of the challenge, the approaching army retreated. This piece was chosen by the group to perform in honor of Julie's own battles. As if in agreement of this theme, mother nature sent in ominous clouds to mute the sky, rolling in over our heads as we played the rest of our set. Nen Daiko responded with resounding rhythms and exuberant kiais to challenge the skies and celebrate our friend. Who could blame the sun for later coming out?!
This past weekend, Julie attended the 2011 Man and Woman of the Year gala. She was the second runner up for Woman of the Year, raising nearly $40K in 10 weeks, and the event itself raised a little over $1 million! Thank you everyone for your support to help make this possible. In addition to this award, Julie was honored to also be awarded the Citizenship Award for Mission, given to the candidate who best represented the core mission and ideals of LLS throughout the campaign. Julie accepted these awards to a standing ovation. We're proud of you Julie!