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As we are in the middle of the holiday season, it is so nice to sit back and reflect for one minute.  I received the enclosed from Mark Pinho, one of the wonderful musicians who is in the MAKE ‘EM SMILE!! program.


            My name is Mark Pinho and I am one of the musicians for MAKE ‘EM SMILE!!  Being laid off from ones job is an experience that I would not wish on anyone, and can encourage various negative emotions to surface from within.  Such was my state of mind when I started participating in the MAKE ‘EM SMILE!! program.  My mother had thought that playing music in the participating hospitals would give me something to do and get my mind off of my unfortunate employment status.  My mother was right in more ways than she could imagine. 

My first experience took place at Kapiolani Medical Center, where a very clear lesson awaited me.  I was taken to the children’s ward where I had the honor to play for quite a few remarkable young people, whose lives consisted of sickness, tests, and pain.  Yet, through all of their plights, each child still had a smile on his or her face when I walked in, and when we parted it was always with another smile and a thank you, accompanied by genuine appreciation. 

            After playing for the children, I was taken upstairs to the cancer ward to play for the cancer patients.  Upon walking in, I was shocked to see 5 women sitting in chairs facing large picture windows.  These were women whose entire lives consisted of sitting in a chair watching life pass by, a chair with a view of the world, if you will. They had absolutely nothing to distract them from endless depression thinking of the precious little time left to them. One lady sat in her chair reading her bible, and only one of the ladies was fortunate enough to have a family member with her to help her pass the time.  I started playing and the transformation was amazing. The looks of gratitude that greeted me, humbled me, and when I left, the smiles on their faces brought tears to my eyes. 

            Participating in MAKE ‘EM SMILE!!  gave me, and still gives me, a new outlook on life.  No longer would I feel sorry for myself!  I was determined to move past whatever hurdles life decided to place in my path, and be thankful for all that life had given me.  It could always be worse.  I relish going to the hospitals and playing for the patients, as I feel that it is the least that I can do to help ease their pain, and give them some small measure of happiness to help offset the sadness they must feel every day.  

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