WAT’S UP – Adam Sawatsky

March to his beat

The man wielding the drumsticks wasn’t hitting anything but I could still hear what he was playing. I noticed him out of the corner of my eye while the videographer and I were driving along Dallas Road searching for a story. The air-drummer was power-walking away from Ogden Point, smashing silent cymbals and nailing virtual rolls.

We turned the truck around and raced to park so we could get pictures of the constant and remarkable motion. The videographer only captured a few seconds of footage before the man veered to the right. He walked down to the beach never missing a beat. We chased after him and watched as he placed the point of his drum-stick in the sand and started writing a message.

His name is Mike. He says he started walking and drumming because his 14-piece professional drum set won’t fit in his new condo. Now he plays along to a soundtrack of classic rock coming through his earphones. “I’m in my zone” he explains. “But I see people around me so I don’t bump into them with a five roll at the end of Kashmir and smack a Japanese tourist on the lens of her camera.”

Mike says there are benefits to drumming while walking. He’s lost 115 pounds and gained a few minutes of “being present.”

“I try not to worry about the future” he reveals, “but that’s easier said than done.”

Because there’s nothing easy about being accidently infected with HIV after getting stuck by a dirty needle while working as a landscaper. There’s nothing easy about the toll that takes on your mental health. “All of a sudden you wake up one day and you’re 50 pounds overweight living in your bathrobe.”

And there’s nothing easy about being told that the drug cocktail that you’ve been prescribed has caused kidney failure and your wife and daughters are now fearing the worst. “Seeing the pain and fear in their faces in the hospital … it’s tough. But I get through it.”

Mike is doing more than just coping. His passion for life is infectious. It’s because of the love of his family, the support of his health care team, and air-drumming. “When I’m playing, I’m back when I was 15 years old in front of my mirror in my parents’ basement listening to Led Zepplin II.”

And then Mike finishes writing that message in the sand with his drumstick.  It says, ‘keep on rockin’.’ Mike says that’s what he does. “No matter what, I just keep on rockin’ in life.” He keeps on because he’s hopeful for a matching donor. And he knows – as all the best drummers do – that there is a rhythm to life and the beat goes on.

Adam Sawatsky is co-host of CTV News Vancouver Island at Five. On weekends, he hosts ‘Eye on the Arts’ on CFAX 1070.

 

Just Posted

Sooke man pursues music for a lifetime

Al Pease has been playing music for over 65 years

Django jazz live in Oak Bay Saturday

Pearl Django performs Saturday, April 28 in the Upstairs Lounge, Oak Bay Recreation Centre,

REVIEW: Salt Baby’s search for identity begins at the Belfry

New stage show has plenty of story to work with, but the characters sometimes get lost in the mix

Rick Scott and Nico Rhodes bring ‘Roots & Grooves‘ to Duncan Showroom

There are 40 years between their ages but who cares when there’s this much talent going around

Theatre stops showing Amy Schumer movie trailer after Langley father complains

It ran before a family-rated movie where children could see it

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

Dinosaurs taking centre stage at National Geographic event

NatGeo Live series finale May 2 at the Royal features renowned paleontologist

Celebrate Earth Day with guided walks through Beacon Hill Park

Local naturalists explore Garry oak ecosystem on Camas Day

Shania Twain set to visit CFB Esquimalt

Country music star is meeting members of the Canadian Armed Forces

Blue Bridge Theatre kicks off it 10th season with fun Russian farce

Unique spin on Chekov classic promises surprises

Cochrane alters lyrics to honour Humboldt Broncos

Rock singer, performing at the Elements Casino grand reopening May 5, changes up ‘Big League’

Who’s afraid of Friday the 13th?

Is friggatriskaidekaphobia harmless fun, or should we be proceeding with caution today?

Scottish Country Dance Society members hone their skills

Annual workshops and ball a success, regular classes resume Tuesday

Saanich youth builds homes with words

1o-year-old Saanich boy wins $5,000 for Habitat for Humanity for his submission to poetry contest

Most Read