Sam’s Fans supports music and art therapy in several pediatric hospitals. We are so grateful that our partners from these hospitals often send us stories and testimonials. They reflect the impact that music and art therapy can have!
We also believe it is important to share these stories with the true heroes. That’s all of our Sam’s Fans supporters who make this work possible! Today we bring you two stories, from art therapy at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, and from music therapy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Cleveland Clinic Children’s
Sam’s Fans partnership with Cleveland Clinic Children’s consists of providing one day of art therapy per week and one day of music therapy per week for seriously ill children in the hospital. Here is the story they sent us:
Born with a congenital heart defect, John* was admitted to the hospital at a young age to be evaluated and listed for heart transplantation. He connected with the art therapist and used the creative process to:
- express his anger at needing a transplant – painting his doctor, whose medical recommendations he saw as limits, being eaten by sharks,
- his longing to return home during his year-long admission – creating an intricate house of out boxes for his toy figurines,
- and, eventually, his gratitude for his donor organ giving him renewed energy and an opportunity to return home and enjoy an almost “normal” childhood.
Eleven years later, he returned to the hospital in heart failure, with rare complicating factors leaving him not suitable for another transplant or an artificial heart. He again connected with his art therapist to process his mortality and create an artistic legacy to leave for his devoted family and girlfriend.
They created pendants from his fingerprints, and 3D printed lithophanes of photographs of him doing what he loved, and with his family. His profound and lengthy relationship with his art therapist provided John with the support and ability to leave tangible reminders of the impact he had on those who loved him.
*name has been changed
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
We also want to share a story with you from Jessica Bogacik, a music therapist supported by Sam’s Fans at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Sam’s Fans partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital consists of funding Jessica, an outpatient music therapist who works in Hospice and Palliative Care. This is a unique position that is not seen often in other hospitals. Here is the story:
I recently met a new patient and his mom. During this visit, the medical team was present to tell mom that the patient’s symptoms were looking like end of life was approaching faster than previously expected.
The visit was sad, and heavy.
The patient, due to his disease progression, was not able to interact with us. Though his eyes were open, he wasn’t able to make eye contact, move his muscles, or talk to us.
I started playing some of the patient’s favorite music, and I noticed that his eyes immediately widened – the first sign that he was listening and reacting. Playing music prompted mom to do some reminiscing.
She talked about the patient always listening to the same song in the shower. This patient loved to dance, and she imitated the way she always imagined him dancing in the shower when he listened to this song. Everyone present was smiling and laughing as she shared this story.
And then, the most amazing thing happened: the patient smiled!
He showed us that he was listening, and enjoying our conversation. Even though it was very hard for him to interact. It was evident that the power of music and his connection with his mom moved him to show us he was still there.
Thank you for reading and supporting Sam’s Fans!
We hope that these two stories helped you understand a bit better how music and art therapy might work for seriously ill children and their families. There are so many more stories like these and yet, each story is so unique! We invite you to explore more impact stories here.
And if you feel inclined to do so, you may donate to support music and art therapy here:
Register to receive our weekly email with highlights from our music and art therapy blog: