Impact Stories

"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.

Story from Jessica 2

Bring the Joy Video Series

"I am the grateful mama to 4 incredible little girls.  2 of which spent a lot of time in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) following their births.  Avery my oldest, then Anna my youngest 6 years later.  It's not an easy beginning of life going from birth to hospital but we were fortunate to have many wonderful services offered to our family to help ease the fears and adjustments. 


One of those services which I think of so fondly and is still impacting us to this day (11 & 5 years later!) is music therapy.  Prior to my oldest daughters hospitalization I was not very familiar with music therapy.  I'll always remember the moment the kind music therapist approached me in the NICU as I was spending time with my daughter, I was feeling so many emotions as I was uncertain of what the future held for my sweet baby girl.  He asked me if I'd like to sing for my daughter and he would record it for her.  I loved this idea and had the perfect songs ready that I had been singing to her in my belly!  This experience was so incredibly special and moving and the music therapist made it all very comfortable.  Once I had the CD he made of songs, peaceful sounds we selected and stories read to her I played it for her often and it provided both of us such comfort.  She's 11 now and still cherishes these songs! 


Fast forward 6 years later and sweet Anna Joy was born.  She spent 72 days in the NICU after being born at 29 weeks.  We were so fortunate to have the same kind hearted music therapist there for us again!  We made a CD for Anna with new songs special to her and just as before the experience is so cherished!  This time we recorded the songs right in Anna's hospital room, I'll never forget it.  It's been almost 5 years since our last hospital stay and I am still so thankful for what music therapy provided for my family!" 

- Dayna, grateful mom

This is a 9 year old patient with weekly visits to the clinic for infusions. Music therapy has been utilized for procedural support, providing a calming environment for both the patient and family. Mom has shared on multiple occasions that music therapy also helps her to relax in the hospital environment!

This is a 5 year old patient with frequent clinic visits for infusions. Music therapy has been utilized to improve creative expression and improve gross/fine motor movement, as well as for procedural support. Mom or Grandma is often present and encourages the patient to engage in the music. He enjoys playing the guitar and drums and often sings along!

A toddler patient who I originally visited by myself was always difficult to engage in music therapy interventions.  She had to move her body constantly around the room, and had significant difficulty focusing on the interventions I had brought to her.  I was not seeing her making eye contact with me, visually tracking instruments, reaching out, or interacting with the music in any other way.  The massage therapist often had a similar experience, describing having to walk around the house massaging the patient.


When we began to co-treat, it quickly became evident that the combination of different sensory input helped the patient’s body to relax and remain in one place.  She would rest her head in the massage therapist’s lap, reach out for instruments, smile, and become very calm.  Combining our interventions helped us both do our jobs, and it helped the patient gain more benefit from our visits.

We visit an older infant with a degenerative disease and a very loving family.  This patient struggles with pain and often clenches his fists and other muscles in response to this pain.  During our co-visits, the massage therapist holds the patient and gently massages him.  The family had mentioned a special song on our first visit, so I prepared it for our next trip out.  While the patient received his massage, I quietly played the special song that his parents used to sing to him.  The family gathered around and tearfully sang along, talking about their love for the patient.  Meanwhile, the patient had become so completely relaxed that his muscles went limp and he fell asleep.

"I cannot say enough wonderful things about this program. Overall, Ezra spent 177 nights at three hospitals throughout his cancer journey. There were countless days that the only thing that would bring a smile to his face was seeing Ms. Lindsey walk in with her instruments. When he was in excruciating pain, exhausted from chemo and tired of being in the hospital, he would request Ms. Lindsey to sing “Frozen” and he would smile. 
Ezra so loved Ms. Lindsey. When we asked him if he would like to raise money for something by selling his “Team Ezra” shirts, he immediately asked if we could help someone at Dayton Children’s. When we talked about some of the things he could do – child life, music therapy, buying toys for the play room – he perked up and said “Ms. Lindsey probably needs new instruments.” It brought him so much joy to think about all the other kids who could hear music at the hospital.
Team Ezra
The compassion and love that was shown our entire family by the music therapy program can never be repaid. On our darkest days, music would fill his hospital room and bring us some hope in the form of smiles. When Ezra was at home between treatments, he would listen to music daily – it provided so much comfort and relaxation for him.  We feel truly blessed by the program and know that countless other families feel the same way. Thank You!”
Ezra, unfortunately, lost his battle with cancer, but he has left a legacy at Dayton Children's Hospital.
Dear Nikki -
I wanted to share these videos with you and the Nationwide Music Therapy team to show how much your donated instruments truly bring joy and peace to my son Bryce as your organization intends.
My son is 3 years old and has never been home yet. We are currently at Nationwide Children's NICU and we are looking to be discharged to our home hospital in California by the end of the year.  We'll still have another 4-6 weeks at Children's Hospital Los Angeles before going home but we are nearing that part of our journey's goal.  However, before we go, I would like to express the following:
My son LOVES music.  He lights up with music more than any toy that flashes light and moves.  He was born prematurely at 24 weeks and has BPD (Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia), and many of the complications that come with Prematurity, including developmental delays, Cortical Visual Impairment, a Colostomy, and Cerebral Palsy.  It is not easy trying to figure out what motivates him to move his body and/or respond to initiated commands, however, when it comes to music, he is amazingly motivated and very much intentional with his responses in movement.  Thank you so much for the ukulele!  I hope you enjoy seeing him love strumming along.  It is such a joy to see his excitement, not to mention the critical therapeutic benefits of intentional movement and input to the brain.  
We also were able to try out your most recently donated chimes instrument for the first time and he really rocked that out. (First time being used by a therapist and our first time trying it out.)  He absolutely loved playing them. Just to give you an idea of how far he's come, when we first came to NCH right before he turned 1, he could not smile, make intentional movements or gaze at an activity at hand.  Today, he does all these things and I credit a great deal of this to MUSIC and their instruments.
Thank you for your amazing organization fulfilling that need for those that need brightening up in their day.  For us, it does that and so much more.  Our hearts overflow with gratitude. Thank you for what you do!
Much Love,
Connie McKinney - Bryce's mom