Christopher Mamula

Overcoming Muscular Dystrophy with Drumming

There is one moment in my life which I would consider to be my "Game-Changing Moment". Being a teenager with Muscular Dystrophy, I was never able to participate in sports or anything really energetic. I had always had a love for music, but guitar and bass were too difficult (I can't press the strings down well enough). My best friend heard another friend had her drumkit for sale. He jumped at it, but it wasn't for him, it was for me. We took it to his place (my parents wouldn't allow it, too loud they said), and set the kit up. I was in heaven! Of course I was no good at that point, but it was pure joy. I would go over and jam with him, but it soon collected dust.

A few months later he tragically lost his life in a car accident. His mother called mine and informed her my drumkit was still at their house. Considering what had happened, my parents allowed me to have it at their home. I became obsessed, spending what money I had (on fast food job paycheck it wasn't much) on equipment. I practiced every chance I could, slowly building my chops and replacing gear. I had a doctor's appointment for my Muscular Dystrophy about a year later and my parents mentioned my drumming to the doctor. He was pleasantly surprised! The look on the doctor's face was all I needed. I won, I beat my handicap.

Fast-forward 10 years later, I'm in two popular local bands in Maryland. When I drum, I get nothing but compliments on my skill, no one even realizes I have a disability. In those 10 years, I've used many sticks. Vic Firth 8d's took my heart, they feel great, easy to grip, and I haven't looked back since! The Game-Changing moment I surprised a doctor with my pure perseverance and confidence, that has always stuck with me. I have no aspirations to be a rock-star but playing the drums will be something I'll do until the day I'm pushing up daisies, disability or no disability.

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In celebration of Vic Firth Company's 50th anniversary, we've spent an entire year celebrating Game-Changing Moments in drumming -- including yours! To everyone who shared a story with us this year, thank you! Drumming is a shared experience and we are all brothers and sisters! Your stories have inspired us to continue making the best sticks possible and to continue changing the game for drummers everywhere.


We received thousands of amazing stories this year. Although it was difficult to choose only one story, we're happy to announce that Joe Russomano is our grand prize winner in the Game-Changing Moments contest!

Read Joe's Story