Music reached Daniel Trush when nothing else could. In March 1997, at age 12, he had a brain aneurysm and was placed in a medically induced coma to relieve the swelling in his skull. Doctors said that he was brain dead and that recovery to anything resembling his former self was unlikely.
Daniel remained hospitalized for 341 days, yet during that entire time, his family -- including his father, mother, and younger brother Michael --incorporated music into his recovery. His father sang to him for the first year and a half, and after returning home, Daniel began working with a music therapist on the keyboard and singing.
As the years went by, Daniel graduated from high school and audited classes at college. All the while, he gravitated toward anything to do with music. On days when his disabilities got the best of him, music made it all worth fighting for. It sparked his mind and soul, and everyone saw how his zealous study and performance of music allowed him a life of joy and happiness.
Daniel's family began to wonder if other individuals with disabilities and their families knew how much music can change a life. And so in order to share their life's blessing, they created Daniel's Music Foundation (DMF) in 2006.
DMF is a not-for-profit organization that provides free music instruction to individuals with disabilities in the New York City area. Programs are open to the widest range of individuals possible without limitations on age, disability, or talent.
The programs are led by qualified music teachers, therapists, and performers and include training in a variety of instruments and voice. The entire Trush family works together on the programs, with Daniel's ethos guiding the principles of the instruction.
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.
As the first honoree of HOPE Week 2011, Daniel Trush and students from his music foundation were joined by Yankees players for a performance at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. Prior to the show, the players practiced with the students.
Daniel and his family were guests of the Yankees at the game Monday evening where DMF members and Daniel performed the national anthem prior to the game.
About HOPE Week
Created to recognize the individuals and organizations whose acts of goodwill provide hope and encouragement to their community, the New York Yankees HOPE Week is in its third year. Each day, a different honoree is surprised with an outing involving Yankees players and staff and later attends that night's game.
The Corporation for National and Community Service partners with the NY Yankees to present each honoree with a President's Volunteer Service Award. By using the story of the HOPE Week honorees, the NY Yankees and CNCS believe that they are sending the message that everyone can serve to make their community a better place.
Read about Tuesday's Children, another HOPE Week honoree.