Ava went through what no six-year-old should ever have to endure — cranial surgery, chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, infections, nausea, needle sticks, and endless visits to the oncology unit at Cardon Children's Medical Center.
It would have been understandable if she had been sad, quiet and a little cranky. But that wasn’t Ava.
Ava had an unyielding enthusiasm for life and could often be found dressing up and dancing in the hospital’s hallways. She made doctors dance and sing before entering the unit, and played the princess game making people wear tiaras and sprinkle pixie dust.
Ava loved singing and playing instruments with the hospital’s music therapists. Music became a means to help her cope with the turmoil of her treatment.
Before taking her daughter home with hospice, Ava’s mother requested that the music therapists create a recording of her daughter’s favorite music. Taking the request a step further, they recorded personal messages from staff who worked with Ava during her 13 months of treatment.
Through the project, the recordings became a way for staff to reach out and continue caring for Ava during her last weeks of life while helping them deal with their own feelings and grief.
Mixing the personal messages with background musical arrangements, the CD became an extraordinary gift. While at home with hospice the CD helped Ava relax and remember positive experiences and fun times at Cardon Children's Medical Center.
Ava and her family listened to the CD while she peacefully slipped from this world surrounded by her family and friends. Ava’s mom spoke with gratitude about how much the CD meant to her. She later requested 12 copies of the CD to include in memory boxes for Ava’s sisters, cousins, and grandparents.
Inspired by the impact Ava’s CD had on her, her family and her caregivers, the hospital’s Music Therapy Department now offers that powerful mix of music and inspiration for all patients and their families.
For more information on music therapy services at Cardon Children's Medical Center, please call (480) 412-3667.