4You: Friends of Kids with Cancer’s music therapy program

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 7:37 PM CDT|Updated: May. 4, 2023 at 9:56 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - Young cancer patients are creating their own soundtrack to the biggest fight of their lives.

Music therapy has proven successful in reducing pain, stress, and anxiety according to recent studies. It’s why local nonprofit Friends of Kids with Cancer offers it to all their patients.

Elias has worked with music therapist Christy Merrell since he was 18 months old, soon after he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.

Merrell said, “Hospitals are very sterile right and very scary, and so Elias rightfully so, and age-appropriate would withdraw and a little bit of regression because of the situation.”

Music therapy brought a welcome distraction to Elias as he underwent treatments.

“He’s very smart and he knows he has to get the poke so let’s put it on his terms,” said Merrell.

Elias, now 6, is in remission. But, at Friends of Kids with Cancer the support continues well after a diagnosis, and is for the whole family.

Elias’ mother Ashly Hammer said, “Ava, his sister, even really likes it to cope with different things that are going on in life, she likes to come.”

Friends of Kids with Cancer offers music therapy at their office in Maplewood as well as Mercy Clinic and through telehealth. Patients can be referred for services by their hospital social workers or care team.