Scott Swimmer, Founder, drumSTRONG


TEDxCharlotte 2011’s 3rd presenter is Scott Swimmer, Founder, drumSTRONG
,! Watch video here!

From the website:

DrumsForCures was created as a natural expression of our family’s desire to be a vibrant part of beating cancer. Since rhythm is universal we decided that an event centered around the art and fun of hands on drumming would be a great way to bring people together. Our mission is to provide a vehicle for health entities and cancer societies to show communities the resources at hand to assist in directing and easing cancer concerns. Facilitating the ‘introduction’ and advancement of important organizations supporting those dealing with cancer, promoting early detection and working towards cures is our goal, and a cause that is close to my heart.

Scott is described as no less than as a “spirited individual” who communicates with us on a variety of levels. Demanding that the audience participate, Swimmer’s love for drums extends beyond a personal one. He’s got a noisemaker for everyone in the crowd.

“Pulse perpetuate life and perpetuates mind. I often wonder if the beat in my head is bothering the guy next to me.”

His favorite drum is one with a heart on it. The courage and determination gauged by the beat of each person’s drum is what inspires him most. “Give your heart a little pat for coming here today.” He says. 

Drums for Cures, founded in 2006, is a cancer support and funding initiative Scott began his journey after learning  his son was diagnosed with bone cancer at 15. His touching account of holding his son the night before his son’s chemotherapy began fell upon the attendees in the most touching of ways. Paired with the very personal family portraits he’s sharing, he recounts the difficult struggle his son faced. This day, his son is alive and kicking. He and his family are so, so thankful.

“Drums are the perfect communicator.”

Scott was diagnosed with cancer while his son was in chemo. Out of this trying circumstance, drumSTRONG arose and they, along with volunteers played for 24 hours straight a few months later. At drumSTRONG teams get per-hour drumming sponsorships to raise money to put towards initiatives that aide in beating cancer. Drummers in cancer treatment centers join in on livestream.

In May 2011, 54 cities in 50 countries, drumSTRONG drum circles supported their local cancer treatment centers.

“From LA to Weddington, London, Dusseldorf, Rome, Kiev, 6 cities in Japan, we had these incredible participation moments. Some with great celebrity artists sharing their art and talents. So far, we’ve raised over half a million dollars and we’ve made resources available for thousands.” says Swimmer.

drumSTRONG also holds the world record for the longest percussive display.

“The first time we took drums and drummers into the hospital to find kids who were unhappy to say the least and teathered to their IVs. But eventually, when surrounded by drums, they would give into the healing distraction of the drums. They’d give in. Before drumming together the playing field wasn’t equal between caregivers, parents and patients but afterwards, you know, everyone gets down. It gives everyone common ground. When drumming, all else is forgotten.” he says.

Scott’s passion for drumming, his exuberance for it, even extends into his dreams. He believes in ‘if you believe it, it will manifest. […] Cancer knows no boundaries and rhythm is also sneaky. It’s been known to cross borders. […] We have been drumming for 28 hours once. We were tired, sore, a bit ripe, but we knew there were those who faced far bigger challenges. drumSTRONG is the first org to utilize drumming as a vehicle to support cancer research. […] It takes community effort to beat something as big as cancer.”

In closing he says; “drumSTRONG is my story, I hope it impassions you to connect with your community. What is your dream, what is your drive, what is your drum?”

The crowd joins in for a final collective rhythm making, a beautiful, beautiful thing.