They say music has the power to heal wounds. That idea is the driving force behind Michael Franti’s non-profit wish granting foundation, Do It For The Love, which grants people with terminal illnesses, children facing severe challenges, and wounded veterans the unique chance to have one-on-one experiences with their favorite artists at live concerts. Their mission to inspire hope and happy memories in the face of trauma has helped people, both children and adults alike, face some of the most difficult periods of their lives while inspiring countless others to act and get involved.
Singer-songwriter Michael Franti blends rap, funk, reggae, jazz, and folk with poetry to create change. Do It For The Love began when Steve Dezember, one of Michael’s fans, shared his story via twitter and asked that his wish to go to one of Michael’s shows be granted. When Steve was diagnosed with ALS, he gave his girlfriend Hope the option to walk away. Instead, she married him and stood steadfastly by his side through all of the difficult highs and lows that come with the development of ALS. Michael and his partner Sara were so inspired by their love that they invited the two to join him on stage at one of his shows. As Michael sang, “Life is Better with You,” Steve told Hope that he wanted to get up out of his chair – no small feat. The two miraculously danced along and according to Michael, “there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.” This beautiful story serves as a wonderful example of DIFTL’s mission in action – to provide the opportunity for healing to occur through music.
Since Steve, DIFTL has helped almost 50 others see and meet their musical heroes, ranging from Paul McCartney to Ziggy Marley to James Taylor to Barney and the stories are wonderful. While a simple song might not have the power to cure the illnesses that DIFTL beneficiaries face, it can shine new light on hope and sometimes, that’s the best place to start.
I’m a huge fan of Michael Franti for his music, his unwavering commitment to others, the beautiful initiatives he’s taken to give back, the clear love he has for his fans and, the infusion of yoga into his life, words and message and I love what he and Sara are doing with this foundation. If you know someone who could use a little bit of musical inspiration or would like to donate or volunteer, check out this page to see how you can help. You can also get a better idea of Do It For The Love’s mission through this fantastic video:
(All pictures were pulled from the Do It For The Love website or google)