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Livestrong Foundation Grant Programs

March 24, 2015 11:53 AM


Halfway between Dallas and Austin is Waco, Texas where music therapist Kathleen Brown dedicates two afternoons each week to bringing music to Baylor Scott and White Cancer Center to help patients struggling with their treatments. Brown introduced this music therapy program in October and with the help of a grant from the Livestrong Foundation, has been able to work with 55 patients as of February 2015. Brown’s music therapy techniques, which include encouraging patients to write their own lyrics and carting around instruments to their rooms, allow them to better cope with anxiety and fear of the future.

One of Browns patients at the cancer center is Ralph Morales, a Vietnam War veteran now suffering from b cell lymphoma, uses music therapy to cope with his changing lifestyle due to his illness. While deployed, Morales remembered that music allowed him to “take a trip,” and now, he is finding that music allows him to do just that, as he begins to move beyond his illness.

Dalton Calvery, another one of Brown’s patients uses his favorite Led Zeppelin music to literally take his mind off of the pain of his radiation treatments: with music playing, Calvery’s neurological pathways are used to focus on the song rather than the pain, as these nerves can only carry one signal at a time. Listening to music during his treatment relaxes him, and similarly to Morales’ experience, “takes [him] away from [the hospital].”

Brown hopes to expand music therapy programs to other treatment centers around the country. With her program, patients have been able to accomplish goals, musical, mental, and physical that were never thought possible. She comments on the value of music therapy, saying that for patients who are interested and willing to participate, “music can help.”


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