"Killian Mansfield, 16, of West Shokan, NY, artist, musician, humanitarian. He waged a valiant battle against a rare form of cancer armed with an infectious sense of humor and a life force to be reckoned with.
"He took up violin at age 3 and continued his dedication to music, winning an award for his elementary school music program (PS 24 in The Bronx, NY), and participating in what he called “an outstanding string program,” at Onteora High School. As a participant of the Fiddle & Dance camp run by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason at the Ashokan Center, he picked up the ukulele — an instrument that enabled him to continue playing music despite the limitations cancer imposed on his body, and made such an impact that a Pavilion is named in his honor.
"He loved the ukulele for its simplicity and ability to encourage egalitarian musicianship in young and old, professional and beginner. His philanthropic devotion was similar in its focus on empowerment. He wished, “more kids with cancer knew that choosing to eat well and doing acupuncture, reflexology, aromatherapy and the like can make them feel better.” He started the Killian Mansfield Foundation to help children with cancer and other serious illnesses through health care that treats the whole child- mind, body and spirit.
"In the last few months of his life with the assistance of world class musicians like Dr. John, Kate Pierson, John Sebastian, Todd Rundren, Levon Helm and many others, he summoned up all his fading strength and recorded Somewhere Else to benefit his foundation, and to send another message of empowerment for seriously ill children and teens."
Monday, August 24, 2009
We were indeed saddened to hear of the passing of young uker Killian Mansfield. As you may have read earlier on Ukulelia, he recently released a CD, proceeds from which will support the foundation named in his honor. Please buy one.