A nine-year-old video of a piano duet at Mayo Clinic by then-octogenarians Marlow and Frances Cowan of Ankeny, Iowa has gone viral.
At about noon yesterday I received an email from our MCSMN Medical Director, Dr. Farris Timimi, an avid Reddit user, that someone posted the YouTube link to Reddit just an hour earlier and it was now the #1 video on the site (click image to enlarge.)
So just as I had done in 2009 when we originally embedded the video on Sharing Mayo Clinic and posted it to our Mayo Clinic Facebook page and Twitter account, I took a screen shot of the view count so we could track the growth.
At 12:35 p.m. CDT yesterday the count stood at 11,340,702. Six hours later it increased by more than 56,000 views. The views continued to grow overnight. More on that in a bit.
Because Mr. Cowan died in May of 2016 at age 97, before doing a post about this Reddit phenomenon, I wanted to connect with his daughter, DeDe, to see how her mom was doing and also to let her know about this new Internet interest in her parents. Here's part of what she said in giving her blessing for this post:
My Mom is still trying to keep a positive outlook on life despite her physical condition. She knows that her mission now in life is to pray for all the caregivers that help her each day and to try to make them smile or laugh before they leave her room. She is really an amazing lady!
Just yesterday I showed my Mom all the videos you all took of them while at Mayo. It made her very happy to hear my Dad's voice in your interview of them at their home and also to hear my Dad playing the songs she loves to hear on the piano. She almost cried when she saw him kiss her after he played the "Let me call you Sweetheart" song to her.
She misses him very much and longs for the day to be reunited with him in heaven.
I came to know the Cowans well since I first interviewed them in their home in May of 2009 and interacted with them many times over the years, so it's no surprise to me that Mrs. Cowan would make it her personal mission to pray for her caregivers and to make them smile or laugh every day.
She is just doing in-person what she and her husband have done for nearly a decade on YouTube, even after his departure.
We were honored the Cowans played their final concert on the same Mayo Clinic piano at our annual conference in 2011:
Now, for the latest on Reddit.
As of this writing, about 23 hours after posting, the video has more than 50,000 upvotes and 1,410 comments.
The view count on YouTube has climbed to 11,683,478. That's an increase of more than 340,000.
So, the headline of this post understates the reality: they're still bringing joy to hundreds of thousands.
Lee Aase is a Communications Director at Mayo Clinic and Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network.