Children We Have Helped
We met Tona aged 16. She had already beaten cancer twice, however the harsh treatments which destroyed her cancer also destroyed many of her body’s functions. Tona and her mum spent the next year on the children’s ward, with regular trips to the regional PICU.
Music therapy became such an important part of their life that when Taylor went home for end-of-life care she requested the therapist visit to make music around her with her siblings.
After her death Tona’s mum told us, “In order for children to get better, or to even accept treatment, the child needs to trust and feel safe. Children, particularly those who are in for a long time, get fearful. People like music therapists – who don’t expect anything from them other than to play, to have fun, to make music – are those connections that get children to feel better, to sit up, to accept treatment.”
More quotes from Tona’s mum, Eve…
“Very special, to be able to pitch at different levels. To make huge amounts of noise with little ones, but still manage to break the ice with a teenager who didn’t want to connect or engage with anything”.
“The last couple of months Tona knew she was going to die, and she’d made such a connection she wanted the music therapist to continue supporting her and her siblings when she came home for end of life care. Tona was barely conscious, but hearing the therapist was there bought a lot of comfort and she was one of the last people outside the family to see her. A really special connection”.
From Tona – “George’s Rockstars has supported us emotionally throughout this, and I’ve really seen how they’ve helped my mum which means a lot to me”.
Ernie was two years old when George’s Rockstars first met him. Usually full of beans and keen to explore the world, his metabolic condition unfortunately means he has frequent periods of illness and regularly spends a few weeks in hospital. At his young age he gets very bored and frustrated, but doesn’t yet have the language to talk about his emotions or fully understand why he has to be there.
Every time he sees the trolley of instruments coming he is so excited to join in and uses the music to let everyone know how he is feeling. The therapist thinks carefully about which instruments to use and the music they create to help Ernie learn and develop – all whilst having a lot of very noisy fun!
“Thank you SO much for all you do! I cannot tell you what the wonderful session meant to Hope who suffers with huge anxiety around certain parts of her stay. In turn making my day a whole lot better too.
The therapist was just wonderful and seemed to understand Hope straight away. I would give you the world if I could for that session made Hope on cloud 9 for the rest of the day. It is so much more than just the music and it’s suitable for every child, no matter of the need or illness. Super inclusive. Thank you so very, very much.”
Sophie was diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma in September 2020. Sophie has music therapy while at Queen Alexandra hospital in Portsmouth during strict isolation for COVID-19, meaning she was unable to see any of her siblings for the majority of her time in hospital or leave her hospital room.
Sophie’s mum Charlotte told us “It’s just invaluable, it’s priceless in a way. Sophie didn’t go to school in that whole time, and you are separated from everyone and you feel apart from everything. The impact on your mental health is huge, and services like music therapy that George’s Rockstars offer has a huge impact, improvement on their mental health.
Cathy just works her magic, but the child is in full control over what they are able to do and I think so often throughout their treatment or time in hospital they have no control over anything. And actually having control of something, even if it is a piece of music gives them something to hold on to really.
What was really pivotal about Cathy’s timing was that Sophie was dying at the point that we had our sessions and actually she had one in the last couple of weeks of her life and I think that to be able to give her something during that time when she knew she was dying and she had only just turned 10, I think was quite an uplifting piece and quite calming, the videos we have just look quite peaceful.”
Aila spent many months in Piam Brown Children’s Cancer ward after being diagnosed with leukaemia at just 4 months old and had lots of music therapy sessions with us.
Aila’s mum has shared her story.
“When we found out we were pregnant with Aila, one of our first thoughts was we were so excited to show her our love of music. Both myself and Jason play guitar and piano, we couldn’t wait for Aila to play alongside us one day.
Aila was diagnosed with Acute myeloid leukaemia at four months and faced a six month stay in hospital for intense chemotherapy. Our world of music turned into worry and stress of being on a hospital ward with a critically ill baby.
One day we had a knock on our door and it was Cathy, a music therapist from George’s Rockstars. She came in with every instrument from pianos to a shaky egg, this was clearly Aila’s favourite!
For the first time it felt like we had our dream of music back and the session flew by. Each Monday Cathy came, with different instruments and songs and Aila always loved it.
We are now home having finished treatment and are back to playing our instruments and even attended a music festival.”