Victoria ukulele fest to buoy spirits, raise funds for cancer patient

Mount Douglas secondary student will play ukulele with mentor

Sixteen-year-old Victor Gim is looking forward to meeting his ukelele mentor

Sixteen-year-old Victor Gim is looking forward to meeting his ukelele mentor

When Victor Gim meets one of his favourite musicians this weekend, it may be just what the doctor ordered, say his friends and family.

The chance to jam with his ukulele mentor, Aldrine Guerrero, who is flying in from Hawaii to star in the Ukulele Festival from March 2 to 6, will be a highlight for the 16-year-old Saanich resident. Gim was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer last May.

“The whole thing is to boost his spirit,” said Gim’s mom, Eunyoung Lee.

The Grade 11 Mount Douglas secondary school student, whose eyesight and right arm and hand have been impacted by the tumour, is currently being treated with a second round of chemotherapy.

Through it all, he has found joy and strength in playing his treasured ukulele, which he first picked up in Grade 4. Gim continues to play with the Greater Victoria School District’s Island Ukuleles A program.

“He truly believes ukulele can make the whole world happier,” said Lee.

Her son is thrilled at the chance to jam with Guerrero during the festival, sponsored by Island Ukuleles and Larsen Music.

The event is also a thank you to those who have supported Gim through his ordeal.

“Yes, it’s a story of a teenage boy struggling with brain cancer … but I also think it’s a testament to watch how (his friends and fellow ukulele musicians) have come together to help Victor,” said Island Ukuleles music director Tina Horwood.

Festival proceeds will help cover Gim’s rehabilitation expenses, Guerrero’s travel costs and support the B.C. Childhood Cancer Parents Association. Donations can also be made to a trust account that has been set up for the Saanich teen at the Mayfair Shopping Centre CIBC branch. Cheques can be made payable to the Gim Family Trust.

For details, visit www.islandukulele.org.