The Today Show Day!

Welcome back!  The following is just after the Today Show was filmed back in June.  I made sure to write it all down so I wouldn’t forget.  It is interesting to read what I wrote that day and what I know now:) Enjoy!!

The last five days have been a complete whirl wind. 

Sunday’s race was awesome!  Just as I planned, the weather was perfect although some runners may say it was a bit warm but beautiful and sunny!  There were a few small snafus with the course but nothing too crazy.  As one participant told me… “this is not the Boston Marathon after all!”  When it was all said and done I think we should be over the $20K mark again this year which is just awesome!  Thank you to everyone who came out and joined us again this year!  We will post photos soon on the website.

 Last Friday there was a feature article in the Columbus Dispatch about Sam’s Fans.  I couldn’t have been more happy with how it turned out.  There was also a video that accompanied the article online.  It is nothing short of amazing.  It was the first time I had gotten to see our music therapist in action.  All of our Sam’s Fans have really just taken my word for it and gotten on board with this plan.  This is living proof of the benefit of music therapy.  Watch this video and tell me you don’t agree!  What I love most is that now I can show you all that it is not just me but other patients that are receiving these services and are benefitting from the music therapists we support! 

You would think that would be enough but if you remember, I did let you in on a little secret on Sunday about a certain morning program.  Monday and Tuesday the Today Show came to Columbus to do a feature on Sam’s Fans!!!  ahhhhh!!!  I know, I freaked out too when they told me!  I was afraid to share in case it didn’t really happen but it actually did!  Monday we did a lot of interviewing at our house and Tuesday Nationwide Children’s was kind enough to set up some music therapy sessions with patients that we were able to see in person. 

The first visit was with Jessica, the MT we fund directly.  She had written a song with her patient Cory and they sang it for us.  Cory is confined to a wheelchair and has a skin condition related to a very rare disease.  She wrote the song about her friend Lexus that had passed away a few years ago.  Her friend also had the same disease and they had met while in the hospital receiving treatment.  The song was beautiful and her voice was incredible.  As you can imagine I was reduced to a puddle of tears the moment she started to sing.  Jessica asked her if she was in pain and how music helped that and she said when she concentrates on writing and singing it helps relieve some of that pain.  How about that??!!

After my display of emotion at the first visit I think they decided it was better for me to watch from outside the window!   Our next visit was with a young lady with cerebral palsy.  She was working on standing for her rehab and while Donovan played guitar she sang “Fight Song”.  No, watching through the window didn’t help that much!  I could still hear her beautiful voice as she sang that song at the top of her lungs while she worked so hard to stand the whole time with her parents watching so proudly.  I am still in awe of her strength and her spunk!

 Our last visit was with the NICU music therapists!  As if it couldn’t have gotten any more emotional, right?!  Little Caleb was born at 24 weeks gestation and he is fighting every day to get strong and go home when his lungs are fully developed and he can get off the ventilator!  His mom told us about how he reacts when the music therapist comes and sings next to his little isolet.  His oxygen number is typically in the 80’s but when she began to sing softly and play her guitar his O2 number slowly climbed to 100 meaning his is breathing over the vent!  Listen, I remember watching those numbers and waiting for those days when Sam could breathe on her own after days in the ICU… it is frightening and exhausting but seeing that number go in the right direction gives you hope and strength!  His mom said he is a fighter and he has a long way to go but she knows he can do it!  I know he can too! 

 So that was really emotional, like more than I have experienced in a really long time. I thought maybe it was enough but we still had a mini concert for patients so we took a lunch break and chilled out for a little while.  My kids were expected to be there too for the concert later that afternoon.  Brian (you guys remember him from Cincinnati) was there for the day to participate too so there was no way I could pack up and go home but for a moment I felt like I might want to or at least take a bit of a nap!!! 

 I was in a room just outside the area where the concert was and I could hear the patients arriving and the music therapists were practicing some songs they would sing for the today Show.  When everyone was there and set up we were invited to join the party.  The MTs led the party with clapping, dancing and singing but then things got really crazy because HODA KOTB came out from behind the curtain… I felt like my heart was going to come out of my chest.  She came and said thank you for what I do and all that good stuff (the truth is I can’t remember a word of it) but that she also had one of other special surprise… you guys know where I am going with this, right?!  None other than THE Mat Kearney comes out!  I mean… WHAT??!! Now I have officially died and gone to heaven!  He stayed and played  a few songs with his friend Tyler who is also awesome.  The first song he played was On and On.  Yes friends, that is the one that Sam had recorded for me with Brian years ago… I know! I was freaking out!  Mat later told me that he had never played the song live before.  Wow, just wow!  He also told me that he was going to come back to do a fundraiser of some kind for us!!!  AHHHH!  We took lots of photos and visited with all the patients.  It was a dream come true and the best day ever.  You see this stuff on TV and you hope that it will happen but you never say it out loud because it probably wouldn’t.  Well, it happened to me!  I am so overwhelmed and still cannot believe it.  It is the moment where I truly believed that Sam was watching and had as big a smile on her face as I did.

 How did this happen?  Because I know that is everyone’s first question!  Apparently many months ago Mandy submitted a letter to the Today Show at their request for submissions for a story about music and someone who does nice things.  A producer read her submission and I am not sure if that story ever came to be but she was touched by Mandy’s words so much so that she decided our story, Sam’s story, needed to be told!  I have no idea what it is going to look like but I cannot wait to see it once all the editing is done later this summer.  The entire day was amazing and I am kind of at a loss for words.

 A huge thank you to Robin Sindler from the Today Show who advocated for the story and made it happen.  Tom and Tracy and Jared her crew who I enjoyed getting to know for a couple days.  You guys are awesome!  Thank you to everyone at NCH who went to GREAT lengths to make sure it all went down perfectly, which it did!  Thank you to the staff and families at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for letting us take a peak into your world and your work.  I have never asked to do it because I am fully aware of the meaningful nature of the work and how intimate the process is.  Thank you to Hoda and to Mat, Tyler and Tracker for making the trip to make my dreams come true.  Lastly, and never ever least I want to thank Mandy.  You are the BEST best friend and noone is luckier than me.  You are by my side in everything I do and you help me make it al work.  The promise you made to Sam on the worst day ever to take care of me you have fulfilled 100 times over.  Two Superheroes.  No Sidekick. 

Stay tuned Sam’s Fans!  We have big plans and we are going to do great things!

 Rock on,


Posted in
Nikki McCarthy

Nikki McCarthy

1 Comment

  1. Kristy Charles on September 6, 2017 at 12:30 am

    I’m so glad you wrote on that day! Keep on making the world a better place one song at a time! Love you!

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