Named in honor of the one thing that every cancer patient hopes for — their disease to be in remission — these musical team members want their positive message to highlight the great work Moffitt is doing to fight cancer.
Dr. Hwu has been playing in bands for more than 30 years. It’s become a meaningful creative outlet for him while dealing with a high-pressure career. “Being in a band is really about teamwork,” said Hwu. “As opposed to being a solo performer, the role in a band isn’t to just play, but to hear and listen to everyone else. ”
Meet The ReMissions
Dana Ataya, MD
Breast Radiologist, Associate Professor
Instruments: Vocals, piano, acoustic guitar, harmonica
Favorite music genre: All genres, but jazz is my favorite for unwinding after a busy day.
Most memorable gig to date: Snapshots of Courage at Moffitt’s McKinley Outpatient Center last fall. The event brought courageous breast cancer stories to life through patient-selected photos. The attendees were either breast cancer survivors, family members, or Moffitt breast cancer health professionals. At the end of the night, we spontaneously decided to perform “Lean On Me”. When I walked out into the audience, I was joined by a line of courageous women. They embraced me, and each other, and joined me in singing. It was a powerful moment.
Favorite songs to play with the band: Feeling Good and any songs we’ve re-imagined (“ReMission-ized”)
Patrick Hwu, MD
President and CEO, Medical Oncologist Researcher
Instruments: Keyboard, piano, guitar and trumpet
Favorite music genre: Blues and rock
Most memorable gig to date: Our holiday caroling gig, because it’s such a joyous time in front of our team members along with a number of special guest vocalists who work at Moffitt.
Favorite song to play with the band: Don’t Stop Believin’. As a cancer immunologist and researcher, it symbolizes our never-ending belief that we can and will find better cancer treatments.
Jeff Leighton, RN, CCRN
Registered Nurse, Intensive Care Unit
Instruments: Bass and guitar
Favorite music genre: Progressive jazz, or anything that’s too complicated for me to play.
Most memorable gig to date: The Grand Opening reception for the new Moffitt McKinley Hospital.
Favorite song to play with the band: Piece of My Heart by Janis Joplin
James Mulé, PhD
Researcher, Associate Center Director of Translational Science
Instrument: Electric and resonator guitar
Favorite music genre: Hard rock and blues rock
Most memorable gig to date: They have all been special in their own ways, but I would have to say the recent Moffitt McKinley Hospital grand opening.
Favorite songs to play with the band: Takin' Care of Business and You Shook Me All Night Long
Favorite music genre: Jazz, blues and rock
Most memorable gig to date: Toss-up between Magnolia Ball, the Mole Patrol event and the DPR Construction open house.
Favorite songs to play with the band: Black Velvet and Don't Stop Believin'
Mark Robertson-Tessi, PhD
Researcher in Mathematical Oncology
Instrument: Mandolin, guitar
Favorite music genre: A wide variety, but outside of popular genres, I also listen to traditional Irish music, classical, acoustic and ambient.
Most memorable gig to date: Our performance in Sun City Center. Vince DiMartino joined us, the crowd was dancing, the mood was great and our setlist was full of good songs.
Favorite song to play with the band: If I had to pick one, Black Velvet. Great groove, and singing the vocal harmonies is very fun.
Shelley Tworoger, PhD
Associate Center Director, Population Science
Instrument: Vocalist, also plays piano
Favorite music genre: “Mike-chosen music”
Most memorable gig to date: The Moffitt McKinley Hospital grand opening. The energy was incredible and it was exciting to be at the beginning of something new and really important.
Favorite song to play with the band: Dreams by the Cranberries is high on the list.
Manager of Research Support Services
Instrument: Bass guitar, guitar
Favorite music genre: I go through phases. I like melodic music that has good energy and good songwriting.
Most memorable gig to date: It’s hard to pick. The team member opening of the Moffitt McKinley Hospital was definitely one of my favorites. Always a privilege to be a part of a milestone.
Favorite song to play with the band: So many, but one of my favorites lately is Black Horse and the Cherry Tree because I get to go a little crazy on the acoustic guitar!
Guest Band Members
Ask the band who Vince DiMartino is, and you will hear answers ranging from “he’s incredible” to “he can shred it up.” DiMartino is a world-renowned professional trumpet player who has played with many of the jazz greats, but also happens to be a patient at Moffitt Cancer Center. He was connected to Dr. Hwu and The ReMissions during one of his appointments, and the rest was history. DiMartino routinely joins the band for practices and special gigs. Playing alongside someone of DiMartino’s caliber is one thing, but for the band members, it’s even more special making music with someone who is living proof of the importance of their work.
Samson Lu, MD
Dr. Samson Lu is a former Radiology Resident and Interventional Radiology Fellow at the University of South Florida and Moffitt. Lu has played the violin for 30 years and while rotating through breast imaging at Moffitt, met Dr. Dana Ataya, who invited him to join the band. “With this last year being my final year of residency, it hasn’t always been easy making it to practices and gigs,” Lu said. “But being with The ReMissions is always fun. It’s the No. 1 rule: have fun!” Even as an occasional band member, Lu’s skills on the violin have added a special touch to so many of the band’s performances, and he hopes to join more over the coming year.
The ReMissions Rules
- Have fun
- Play in the same key
- Start at the same time
- End at the same time