18-year-old Ethan Och plays percussion for his school band, pep band and marching band, but there was a time when he thought he’d have to give it all up.
Ethan was born with a progressive, degenerative disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy that will eventually leave him with little to no mobility. When he entered high school, the disorder had already begun to take its toll, and Ethan thought he would have to quit playing drums forever.
“Rhythms were getting too hard for me to play on a snare drum or a bass drum,” he told the St. Cloud Times. “I wasn’t able to keep up, so I thought I had to quit. But then we ended up finding an answer, kind of by accident.”
Three years ago, his band director Gina Christopherson, had a stroke of genius that would change Ethan’s life forever. Instead of letting him quit the band, Gina wracked her brain until she found the perfect solution… an iPad app that would simulate a drum kit.
“He’s part of the team. You don’t leave somebody behind.”
Coupled with an amplifier and Ethan’s natural musicality, the incredible young man has been able to keep his friendships and passion for music alive.
Check out more of his awesome story in the video below!
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