What is Benjamin's gift?
It's a music therapy program for Saskatchewan's new children's hospital that will help kids through illnesses and injuries. Music is a natural intervention for pain. At the children's hospital it will help manage symptoms and improve quality of life for in-patients and out-patients. Babies and toddlers will be soothed by music and rhythmic movement with their moms and dads. Tweens and teens can use music to express themselves. One-on-one sessions can help a sick or injured child deal with their experience in a more private way, and group sessions can help kids and their parents reduce tension by having fun and laughing.
Music bridges language, age and culture. It can help patients express feelings about illness and hospitalization, promote creativity, self-esteem, communication and independence - and give them a break from doctors, tests and treatment to have some time doing something normal and fun.
Benjamin's gift will help purchase instruments and equipment, storage and display cases, and to provide training to Child Life staff at the children's hospital in selecting the right music therapies for specific children's needs, and using music therapies effectively to help manage children's illnesses and injuries.
"Many have said that medicine is an art. Is it such a leap of faith, then, to maintain that the arts can assist medicine?" --Everett C. Koop, United States Surgeon General, 2000
Why this gift is from Benjamin
Benjamin and his family found out first hand how important music can be when a child is in hospital.
Benjamin was a bright, active boy who could fill a whole room just by walking into it, and he loved a lot of things. Music was one. One day when he was 11, Benjamin got really sick. It was brain cancer. (His original diagnosis was grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma in the hypothalamus, but a couple of months later it was upgraded to grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme.)
Benjamin was really strong and brave, and worked hard to recover after brain surgery. He relearned to talk, walk and do a lot of other things. He was a trouper through radiation and chemotherapy. He did everything he could to get better. But the cancer was aggressive, and Benjamin died December 25, 2013, exactly 6 months after his tumour was found.
During his illness, Benjamin spent many weeks at Stollery children's hospital in Edmonton. One special day the medical staff decided he was well enough to leave his room to play the piano. After working hard on his recovery for weeks, getting out of his room and back in front of a keyboard was a pretty big deal. It was a cloudy day, but Benjamin's smile was so big the sun came out to say 'hi,' shining through the skylight he was playing under.
Now Saskatchewan is getting its own children's hospital. Benjamin's family and friends don't get any more special days with Benjamin, but we can help children at the new hospital to have days like Benjamin's special one at Stollery. We've raising money for Benjamin's Gift of Music program, which will help provide musical instruments and a music therapy program for the new children's hospital. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible!
Sprung from the hospital room and in front of a keyboard for the first time since surgery!
Benjamin’s Gift of Music has officially made its goal to raise $80,000 toward a music therapy program at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital! The hospital is set to open later this year in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. You made this possible! Thank you to everyone who helped! A big thanks to all the wonderful people who organized […]
Family friend Debi made this beautiful quilt and donated it to Benjamin’s Gift of Music. Debi, you’re so very generous, and we’re so very thankful to you! Make it yours through this online silent auction If you’d like to own this beautiful thing, and help a great cause, here’s your chance. We’re auctioning it off […]
It was Paint Nite in Saskatoon on Monday – hosted and organized by my beautiful niece, Kayla. Three dozen of us got together on a winter’s night to learn how to paint a beautiful winter scene. Kayla is Benjamin’s cousin. Despite quite an age difference (she was 12 years older than him) and quite a distance […]