Story of Ayame ~ A Warm & Fuzzy Heart ~

This book, “A Warm & Fuzzy Heart“was written by Kasumi Yoshida, the mother of Southern Stars member Ayame.

She wrote it in order to teach Ayame more about living his life with Pompe disease – a very rare disorder where the muscles gradually weaken, reducing mobility and it can even affect breathing.

While previously there was no known cure or treatment for the disease, in 2007 a new treatment was trialled, which they hoped would slow the progression of the disease.

As the results of the new treatment were unknown, they decided to take Ayame on a holiday to NZ in case his condition continued to deteriorate. Fortunately the new treatment was a success, and a degree of mobility has returned to Ayame’s young body.

When they saw the excitement and joy on Ayame’s face from his first trip to NZ, they longed to travel to NZ again, and with the help of the “Make a Wish Foundation” were able to travel to NZ again in February of 2008.

Ayame’s mother Kasumi had previously danced Yosakoi Soran, and thought how great it would be for Ayame to dance, especially if somehow it could be combined with a connection to Ayame’s favourite country - NZ! So she started searching the web and it was then that she discovered the Southern Stars website!

Kasumi’s timing was perfect, as the Southern Stars had just decided to take part in the Yosakoi Soran Festival in Sapporo, Ayame’s hometown, in June 2008!

“I would love it if we were able to dance together with the Southern Stars!” Kasumi e-mailed. The Southern Stars team was delighted! Ayame was more than welcome to join the Southern Stars - no matter what age, nationality or gender, people are encouraged to join the group.

Kasumi’s family tell us that it is a miracle that they can live day to day, finding happiness in their daily lives. Ayame continues to bravely fight the disease, and his family continues to chase their dreams, and make them come true. 

Kasumi has made many of these wonderful books, however in order to share this wonderful story with as many people as possible, we have put it on our website with Kasumi’s permission.

We hope that a wide range of people can get strength and hope from this inspiring book.

The picture book beginning to sell that "the heart is warm"