Among this year’s Caring Awards Youth Recipients was Jourdan Urbach, a 15-year-old musical prodigy. Jourdan was three years old when he showed a remarkable talent for the violin and has been performing publicly since he was seven. He began giving monthly bedside concerts on the pediatric wards of Beth Israel Hospital; seeing brain damaged children made Jourdan resolve to become a doctor.
He hasn’t waited until medical school to help neurologically impaired kids. Jourdan has created a musical charity foundation called Children Helping Children (CHC) that raises money for pediatric units and medical charities. Jourdan is now a high school student at Julliard in New York City, and he’s recruited other prodigies to give performances for children in New York hospitals. He soon realized that if he gave larger benefit performances he could raise more money. Jourdan has headlined at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Madison Square Garden; so far CHC has raised $13 million.
I didn’t know any of this when we met at a reception the night before the awards ceremony. I asked him about the work he had done to be honored this year and he said that he was a musician who organized concerts to help kids with neurological diseases. He asked me who I was and when he learned that I was a physician he told me that he worked as a summer intern at Harvard doing immunology research on Multiple Sclerosis. His dream is to become a neurosurgeon.
What do you say to a 15-year-old virtuoso violinist who is doing immunology research at Harvard while waiting to go medical school? I said he might not be making much music once his medical studies began, and Jourdan responded that although he loved his music, he could make a bigger difference through medicine.
After the award presentations the following evening, Jourdan was invited to play for the audience, and he was dazzling. He doesn’t think he is exceptional, he just sees himself as “someone who realized there’s more to life than videogames and TV.” Coming to this event always gives me the feeling I’ve crossed a Jourdan and seen the Promised Land.
Happy Holidays, Peace on Earth.
P.S. Remember The Dancing Healers, a unique workshop/intensive with Dr. Brad Keeney (a Bushman Shaman) and me is Jan.13-15, 2008, which is only 3 weeks away. More info on homepage (www.healingdoc.com).