How music therapy helped a family during cancer

Nick will never forget the day his four-year-old daughter Emily was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. “It was 8.00pm on Monday 16 March, 2009 and the start of our family’s nightmare,” he says.

“Our family was falling apart and we quickly realised these dedicated social workers would help us stand tall for our daughter.”

Within days of her diagnosis, Emily had two major operations to remove a 5 cm tumour from her brain. While in hospital, Nick and his family received a Red Bag from Redkite, a support pack containing information, toiletries and other practical items to help during the initial diagnosis and treatment period.

Redkite Social Workers were also available to offer Nick and his family emotional and practical support. “Our family was falling apart and we quickly realised these dedicated social workers would help us stand tall for our daughter,” recalls Nick.

Redkite music therapist

Emily then underwent radiotherapy and four months of intensive chemotherapy. During radiotherapy Emily needed to be perfectly still to ensure treatment was precisely administered to her brain and spine. In her first three weeks of therapy this was achieved by giving her a general anaesthetic, but when this began to affect her recovery, a Redkite Music Therapist was on hand to help.

While Emily lay still receiving her treatment in a room alone, the music therapist sang and talked to Emily via a DVD screen. “It was thanks to the assistance of hospital staff and the amazing Redkite Music Therapists that Emily got through those last weeks of radiotherapy,” says Nick.

Emily’s treatment is now over but regular hospital visits will continue for a further five years. Today, Emily wants to learn to play the violin and loves to sing everyday. “We gratefully thank the music therapists for instilling that gift in her heart,” says Nick.

This story was first published in March 2011 on Redkite

Cancer Advisor has a range of personal stories, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

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