South Charlotte

drumStrong set for next weekend

Next weekend, a portion of Misty Meadows Farm will be transformed from a scenic horse farm into a colorful field with a throng of rhythmic drummers.

The mission: drum out cancer.

It's the fifth annual drumStrong fundraiser, which started in 2007 and has raised more than $500,000 to fight cancer. The event is held at the Weddington farm in Union County at the corner of Providence and Ennis roads.

This year's event will have continuous drumming for 29 hours, an effort to beat the 28-hour world record set last year by drumStrong.

There will be 29 hours of yoga, provided by a dozen participating yoga studios.

And this marks the year that Scott Swimmer's son, Mason, graduates from college. Mason's fight against cancer inspired the annual drumming event. Scott Swimmer is drumStrong president.

It will open at 10:30 a.m. Saturday - rain or shine. Drumming will begin at noon. The cost is $25 a person, or $50 a family. Proceeds go to local and global cancer-fighting initiatives. (A list of charities benefitting from drumStrong can be found at www.drumstrong.org)

Donations also come from money raised by individuals and teams who get pledges.

The main activity will be the drumming.

But there also will be other things to see and do. About 20 musical acts will perform. Mime Hardin Minor, belly dancers and other entertainers will perform.

And a special area will be set up for children, featuring inflatables, face-painting and other activities.

Health-care professionals and vendors will have exhibits, answer questions and provide information on various topics.

The entertainers, exhibitors and volunteers are donating their time and talents. Swimmer's parents, Harry and Marilyn Swimmer, offer their Misty Meadows Farm "as a donation to accommodate drumStrong every year," he said.

Scott Swimmer said he would like drumStrong to be the conduit for important cancer-fighting health initiatives all over the world. This year, while thousands drum in a field in Weddington, countless others will be simultaneously drumming in 45 cities across more than a dozen countries, including Japan, Ukraine, India, Germany, England, Canada, Kenya, Hong Kong, Italy, Malaysia, Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates.

"Imagine if it were happening at the mall in Washington, D.C.," he said. "...Rhythm is an international language...It really does permeate you," he said. "It's a really interesting phenomenon..."

Scott Swimmer recalled Mason's battle against cancer as a teenager and the way he pushed himself to participate in Lance Armstrong's 2006 Ride for the Roses event.

That event, coupled with the Swimmer family's love of drumming, helped inspire drumStrong. The event is open to everyone.

"You don't have to be talented," Swimmer said. "You don't have to be athletic... You're communicating (through drumming). It's a wonderful social event. It's also this wonderful personal outlet. You're getting the satisfaction of helping the community and yourself at the same time..."

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