How did you get involved in Kids Rock Cancer?
Years ago, I had taken up singing as an avocation and was singing with a group at a senior living center. We had just completed a performance and one of the residents approached me and said, “You know, that was wonderful and makes us so happy—much better than the medicines they give us! It’s like when the music therapists come by and work with us! Thank you!” While I had heard of occupational therapy and art therapy, this was the first time I’d heard of music therapy. So, I began researching music therapy which led me to discover that Maryville University had a premier program, and I made contact with Cynthia Briggs, the program director at that time. Cynthia was very generous with her time and helped me learn about the profession and its impact—and we developed a friendship. And, because in my professional life, I work in the field of leadership and professional development, I was able to return her favor by talking with one of her music therapy seminars about some of the recent work I had been doing.
Years later around 2008–2009, I received a call from Cynthia describing what Tom Eschen, Kristi Skor, and she were discussing related to Kids Rock Cancer. She said they were forming an Advisory Council to help guide its evolution and invited me to be a member. I was thrilled by the invitation, accepted immediately, and have been a passionate member ever since.
Why are you passionate about Kids Rock Cancer?
I’ve seen how devastating cancer can be as it has taken friends, family members and professional colleagues from us—and when it strikes in children, it seems especially cruel. In my own life, I have experienced the healing power of music as it comforts, helps people process their pain and connect to a power beyond themselves, and inspires courage to carry forward. At Kids Rock Cancer, I am fortunate to be part of a community of people who are dedicated to making the incredible music therapy service available to more and more patients and families who are going through this battle—and to frequently hear the appreciation of many who are blessed by its benefits.