Mizuki Shikimachi knows all too well what it’s like to struggle with adversity. The Tokyo high school student has been battling cerebral palsy for all of his brief 17 years.
A violin player since he was 4, Shikimachi was moved when he saw the images on the TV news of the disasters of March 11, 2011.
Despite the vagaries of his condition and the constant struggle with paralysis in his limbs, he knew he wanted to do something to help the survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
After talking it over with his mother, he decided to play charity concerts to help raise money for recovery efforts in the Tohoku region.
“I will never forget the disaster-stricken area,” Shikimachi says. “I don’t know when I’ll go blind, but I want to devote my life to the violin.”
Mizuki was born prematurely with a condition called “cerebellar hypoplasia,” a rare embryonic disorder in which his cerebellum was only half the normal size. He began playing the violin at such a young age for rehabilitation purposes.
“We considered the piano, too, but he was too weak to press the keys,” says his mother, Keiko, 43. “He couldn’t maintain his balance while sitting.”
But little Mizuki soon took to the violin.
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