Leora Friedman, Princeton University ’14, is no ordinary collegiette (is there even such a thing?). Since 2008, Leora has been changing the lives of seriously ill patients through her love of music and passion for philanthropy. At the age of 15, Leora and her older sister, then 19, began hosting Music is Medicine songwriting workshops at Baltimore’s Hackerman-Patz House for children undergoing limb-lengthening surgeries. What started as a local service project has since transformed into an award-winning organization that has landed Leora as CEO and has bettered the lives of countless young patients.
“The short-term goal of Music is Medicine is to empower musicians to use their music to help pediatric patients in their communities by performing at hospitals, writing patients original songs of inspiration, or organizing benefit concerts,” says Leora. “In the long-term, [we aim] to transform the greater music industry into a tool for social change. We envision celebrity artists donating part of song proceeds to medical research, more artists visiting children’s hospitals, and more artists participating in our Donate a Song project.”
The Donate a Song project has already proved a success. In March 2012, Another Cinderella Story star Drew Seeley wrote and performed the song “Fly” for 14-year-old mega-fan and cancer patient Brooke Shockley. Brooke wasn’t the only one whose life was changed by Seeley’s song; 100% of the proceeds of “Fly,” which is now available on iTunes, benefit pediatric cancer research at Johns Hopkins.
So how does Leora balance being both a collegiette and CEO? “When I began college, I was faced with a choice of whether to postpone Music is Medicine until after college or even to forgo it altogether,” she recounts. “But inspired by the passion of my peers for Music is Medicine’s goals, I decided to create a college experience for myself in which I both studied and worked to grow MiM, and I am so happy and grateful that I did.”
Collegiettes can help, too! If you want to get involved, start a Music is Medicine chapter on your campus. “Chapters organize events and programs that engage student musicians in music-related service projects, particularly those aimed at helping local hospitalized children,” Leora explains. MiM can also match musically inclined collegiettes with a nearby children’s center to perform at or help them register benefit concerts. Even spreading the word about the organization to friends and family will help Leora and Music is Medicine change the world with music!
Leora Friedman, CEO of Music is Medicine