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A DJ and cancer survivor are showing how music can comfort patients

How teen cancer survivor and celebrity DJ are brightening spirits at M Health Fairview
How teen cancer survivor and celebrity DJ are brightening spirits at M Health Fairview 03:16

MINNEAPOLIS — A mash-up is bringing smiles and hope to patients at M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital.

A teen cancer survivor and a celebrity DJ are encouraging and comforting young patients — through the power of music.

DJ Mad Mardigan is spinning, scratching, mixing, and playing the songs patients want to hear at his monthly residency at M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital.

"The older I get, the more my career evolves and progresses, this becomes way more important than rocking some nightclub dance floor," said DJ Mad Mardigan.

The DJ — whose real name is Nick Dircz —  hosts this live show on ZTV, an in-house channel broadcast in the hospital.

"I am the official DJ of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. I'm about to start my 17th season with the Lynx," he explained to viewers.

Before the dance party gets started – DJ Mad Mardigan — who owns Generation Now Entertainment — teaches patients the art of turntablism.

His booking agent for this gig is 13-year-old cancer survivor Braxton Battaglia and her non-profit TB1 Fund.

"My main goal is always just to help brighten the days of patients and families in the hospital. I've gone through it before and I know how hard it is," said Battaglia.

The music man and his family have connections here too.

"Our first-born, Flora, was born very early as a preemie so we were here for about four weeks and just really fell in love with the hospital and all the programs and services that they offer here," said DJ Mad Mardigan.

Before his mom passed away, she made blankets for the patients here.

"I'll never forget the day we came in here with all these boxes and dropped them off and I see that they still use them to this day," he said.

It's all part of what drives DJ Mad Mardigan to bump up the BPMs and the spirits of the kids battling life-threatening diseases. His beats are moving patients.

"We had a patient that didn't want to leave their room, their entire admission and then this show started, and we said, 'come on down to the dance party' and they said, 'Mom I want to go.' They got out of bed, came on down and they joined into the dance party and that was their first motivation to get out of bed," said Britta Johnson.

"When you're just sitting in your room it can be super boring and it can be scary so when you turn it on and see something that's going on that's super fun, that's like a really cool thing to see," said Battaglia.

"I really think it's the best children's hospital in the world," said DJ Mad Mardigan.

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