Sterling Heights man finds his muse thanks to the D-MAN Foundation – Macomb Daily


Listening to the music of Jayvon Williams, it’s hard to believe that he suffered a head injury in a car accident.

Still, he was there, singing and swaying to a touching song he wrote about not giving up on yourself or your dreams.

“I just want to inspire injured people to keep on, to keep trying,” said the 41-year-old Sterling Heights musician, who stopped by Berkley Studios operated by Danny’s Miracle Angle Network Foundation (D-MAN), a non-profit that helps people with physical and intellectual disabilities heal through music therapy programs and become serious musicians.

“He’s a great example of what ‘Be a Miracle’ means,” said Ziad Kassab, Founder and Chairman of the D-MAN Foundation, referring to what has become a motto for those associated with charity. “Making dreams come true and improving people’s quality of life is exactly the reason the foundation exists. “

Javon (pronounced Jay-VON) was born and raised in the eastern part of Detroit.

As a youth, he had his fair share of troubles and spent time in a boys’ home at the age of 16. He said that in the neighborhood where he grew up there weren’t many positive role models. Fortunately, his path crossed a few people who cared enough about providing guidance, including a youth counselor who told him the world had enough rappers and – what he really needed – was more. teachers. As a result, Williams became motivated to complete his studies and not only got his GED ahead of schedule, but joined his senior class at Kettering High School in Detroit as a card-holder student.

After high school he continued his education and was even on the Dean’s List at Schoolcraft College in Dearborn. Then he went for a walk with some friends and his life was changed forever.

Breian Harris, 13, shakes hands with Ziad Kassab, founder of the D-MAN Foundation in Berkley. Harris’ father, Herb is a guitarist and sound engineer for the Foundation studio. DAILY MACOMB PHOTO BY GINA JOSEPH

“I was the passenger in the back seat and my friend started driving like he was in a car show. I told them, “You guys are crazy,” Williams said.

It was raining and the pavement was slippery, so Williams put on his seat belt.

It’s the last thing he remembers.

When he woke up in the hospital two days later, his sister immediately asked him if he knew who she was. The doctor had told him that due to Williams’ closed head injury, he was unlikely to remember anyone. He also said there was a good chance it wouldn’t work anymore. But when he was finally able to leave the rehabilitation center, he refused the wheelchair and, using a cane, walked away on his own.

During her recovery – which is ongoing – another person who exerted a positive influence was her social worker. Knowing her passion for music and having seen the success that others have experienced, she recommended that he take the music therapy courses offered by the D-MAN Foundation, a unique organization founded in honor of a young man who loved music.

Jayvon Williams talks about his recovery journey and his experience with music therapy while in the D-Man Foundation Hall of Fame. DAILY MACOMB PHOTO BY GINA JOSEPH

In 1993, Danny Kassab, then aged 7, was hit by a car and paralyzed from neck to toe. He lived for 16 years in need of 24 hour care provided by his loving family. Among his favorite things in life was music, from Motown to Rap and everything in between. After Danny’s death, his older brother Ziad felt compelled to found a charity that would not only help other people facing the same challenges as Danny, but motivate and inspire their passion for music.

Since then, Danny’s brother, Ziad, and other family members have supported the D-MAN Foundation whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people with head injuries, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy. and other diseases that affect the nervous system and impair movement. In addition to a disability assessable studio, where a musician can circle in their wheelchair without turning over a microphone, D-MAN employs therapists like Anna Rodie of Royal Oak, who have seen the positive impact that the music can have on individuals like Williams.

“Music can be very motivating,” Rodie said.

It is also known to generate positive physical effects. Since the end of World War II, when doctors and nurses saw first-hand how patients responded to music as a way to cope with physical and emotional trauma, researchers have followed the positive results of music therapy.

Herb Harris, musician and sound engineer for the D-MAN Foundation, spends a working day with his children. DAILY MACOMB PHOTO BY GINA JOSEPH

According to the Peterson Foundation’s The Science of Music Therapy report, music can trigger the release of several chemicals into the bloodstream that improve physical conditions such as endorphins, which not only lead to a happy emotional state, but can serve as a potent pain blocker. Endorphins, like pain relievers like morphine, block pain receptors from transmitting messages to the rest of the body.

Then there is immunoglobulin A, a cell that searches for and attacks viruses and other threatening agents inside the body. Music has been shown to increase the number of these cells in the body. The increase in these cells correlates with a strengthened immune system capable of fighting potential diseases that can lead to complications in the healing process. Cortisol is a stress hormone that drops dramatically when you listen to relaxing music. The lowered levels can potentially help relieve anxiety and stress that a patient might experience prior to physical therapy or a procedure.

For Williams, music therapy has helped him both physically and emotionally.

“I have loved music since I was 9 and it was nice to be in a studio again,” he said.

“It relieved me of my shoulders and inspired me to do more,” said Williams, who is currently studying communication arts at Macomb Community College in hopes of transferring to the University of Michigan. .

The D-MAN Foundation and its studios are located at 3500 West Eleven Mile Rd. In Berkley.

For more information on the D-MAN Foundation, visit

Dreams come true

Everyone should experience the thrill of the Woodward Dream cruise and that’s the goal of the D-MAN Foundation’s Dreams Come True event on August 20 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Dawda Mann Building in Bloomfield Hills.

The annual event held in conjunction with the Woodward Dream Cruise not only gives D-MAN Foundation wheelchair users the opportunity to cruise in a classic car of their choice, but will feature performances by D-MAN All Star musicians, including Williams.

The All Stars at D-MAN Foundation are local musicians who have performed professionally at least once. They are also shining examples of the impact that the nonprofit has on community members who are recovering from a variety of injuries and illnesses.

Customers wishing to participate in the rides must register by August 13. Interested customers, drivers, or anyone interested in sponsoring a ride for $ 100 are encouraged to email [email protected] or call 248-459-1340.

The Dawda Mann law firm building is located at 39533 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills.

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