Donors Bring the Power of Music to Children's Hospital

The Music Therapy Program at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) brings happiness and creativity to our patients’ days. Launched in January 2015, music therapy is possible because of the generous donations of Donna Bushell and the Estate of Dorothy Palmer. Their gifts of $40,000 each have gone a long way to help kids in hospital. An additional $25,000 from the Dorothy Palmer Estate has also enabled Children’s to purchase a Synchronized intermittent Positive Airway Pressure (SiPAP) machine for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. These non-invasive ventilators help Children's most fragile patients breathe without needing to insert a tube into their delicate lungs, protecting them from inadvertent damage.

On Friday, May 1, Ian Begg, on behalf of Donna Bushell, and Andrew Gunn, on behalf of the Dorothy Palmer Estate, were recognized for their generosity in the Atrium of Children’s Hospital. Seven-year-old Breanna Barnim, an oncology patient who regularly visits the hospital and participates in music therapy sessions, played a song on the ukulele for our guests with her music therapist Karina Charczuk. The song she picked was Life of the Party by Shawn Mendes, because “it is about being yourself.” Their music and smiles beamed from within, giving everyone a chance to see just how special and impactful music therapy can be.

“When a child is here for an extended stay, having a music therapist to help them and their families through that process is tremendously important," said Andrew Gunn. "We are proud of this program and hope it goes on for many years. We really want to see it succeed and flourish.”

Hospitalization can have a profound impact on a child. Not only are young people separated from their loved ones, but they also must face a variety of stressful and, at times, painful medical treatments. Music is a unique therapeutic tool. For children in hospital, music can help them express their feelings, work through traumatic experiences, develop self-esteem, and manage stress and anxiety. Since its inception in January, staff, patients and family members have really seen the benefits and now can’t imagine not having this program.

“I want to thank you for your commitment to enhancing paediatric health care in our region. Without our donors, there would not be a Music Therapy Program at Children’s Hospital,” shared Susan Crowley, President and CEO of Children’s Health Foundation. “The power of music is truly amazing.”

Donna Bushell chose to make her gift in honour of her sister, Doris Roxabel Evans, A.W.C.M., A.R.C.T. During her life, Doris was not only an avid musician, but she leveraged her passion and talents to share her love of music with young people throughout her community. Dorothy Palmer shared Doris’ love of music and the two women became friends when Dorothy sang in Doris' choir at St. Paul's United Church in Aylmer. We believe that Doris would be pleased to know that, through Donna’s tribute, her love of music and her desire to help others will continue to brighten children’s lives across London and the region.

Laurie Gould, Chief Clinical Officer at LHSC, took a minute to speak about the impact of gifts to Children’s. “Together, with the help of supporters like you, we are able to offer the best possible care for the whole child…you are truly making a positive difference in the lives of our youngest and most vulnerable patients and I sincerely thank you for making kids a priority.”

Children’s Health Foundation and the children and families who benefit from Music Therapy are so grateful to all of our donors who support the Music Therapy Program. Thank you for contributing so significantly to the emotional and physical wellbeing of the children in our region.