Mile’s Story

Piano and Violin Virtuoso Became a Myocarditis Activist

Miles was Inspired to Help Others by a School Project

Miles was Inspired to Help Others by a School Project
Miles Shen

In December 2009 when I was a 17-year-old high school student, I contacted the Myocarditis Foundation to explain I had done a project on myocarditis and decided to raise awareness about this disease by hosting a chamber music concert at my school. In addition, I produced a CD of my piano performances and sold them to raise money, and donated the proceeds to The Myocarditis Foundation.

I became interested in myocarditis by chance. My Anatomy class teacher at the Menlo School asked everyone in the class to write down five diseases they are most afraid of getting. Based on this information, our teacher assigned each student a different chronic disease.

Over the course of the month, we lived as though we actually had our diseases. My aunt had a very mild version of myocarditis when she was young. I got some insight from her. Today, she is hardly experiencing any problems.

I learned myocarditis is not well understood due to lack of research. Because all research requires money, I decided to incorporate my personal interest in music by making and selling CDs. This CD was recorded at home in my own little ‘recording studio’. I spend hours some days recording just one or two pieces. The work is very intense because mistakes happen often. But in the end, all the work pays off. I am proud of the product.

I feel the project was rewarding at both personal and far-reaching levels. At the personal level, this project helped me take greater initiative. I did all the planning, reservations, CD sales, and sent the invitations. At the far-reaching level, I feel rewarded with the opportunity to help those truly in need. I hope my contributions go a long way. Thank you for listening! I will be sure to continue my work. If anyone wants more CDs, I have plenty left.

NOTE: Accompanied by his friend, a pianist, Miles played his violin at a Myocarditis Foundation fundraiser in September 2010 at the home of James and Candace Moose. He continues his activism on behalf of the Foundation despite a grueling academic course load at Princeton University in New Jersey.