Music Making Chemotherapy Treatment Better for Patients

Everyone has a song that brings them back to their childhood and shows them the power of music.

MGN Online

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HARRISONBURG, Va. Everyone has a song that brings them back to their childhood and shows them the power of music.

James Madison University and Sentara RMH Medical Center have teamed up to bring the sounds of music alive for patients going through lengthy chemotherapy treatments.

Dick Phillippi was diagnosed with leukemia eleven years ago and during his treatments, he met two JMU students who wanted to share their love of music with him.

He used the music as a way to escape his time waiting for treatments.

"Just the fact that you have something to keep your mind occupied while you're sitting in that chair," said Phillippi.

J.P. Riley, one of the pioneers of the program, said he loves using music in a non-traditional way.

"Seeing the patient's face light up and they aren't even concerned about the wires or tubes they are hooked up to, is a really big impact for me," said Riley.

Mark Thress, another pioneer of the program, said the music has been a way to form friendships with the patients.

"No other experience I've ever had that's been this intimate, in this sort of setting, and you really just set everything aside," said Thress.

Now, as the sounds of the Seven Spanish Angles play in Phillippi's ears, he said the music gives him the extra beat to keep fighting. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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