Texas Children's Hospital helping young patients cope through music

Melanie Lawson Image
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Texas children's hospital helping young patients cope through music
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A unique music program was developed to help patients cope with the emotions and stress of going through treatments.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Going through chemo and radiation can be extremely difficult for any child or teen battling cancer. That's why a unique music program was developed to help patients cope with the emotions and stress of going through treatments.

It looks like your typical recording studio, but its real purpose is a distraction for young patients like Sophia to escape reality for a while.

"You feel so powered and it gets your mind off what you've been going through," 13-year-old Sophia Sereni told us.

Through the Purple Songs Can Fly program here at Texas Children's Cancer Center, patients like Sophia are able to write, produce and perform their own material.

"I wrote a song about all of this. My journey through it," Sophia said. "And it really helped me get through it and helped me keep going and never give up."

Her journey started a little over a year ago when she and her family received the life changing news.

Pediatric Oncologist, Dr. Allan Sison said "We figured out she had T-Cell Leukemia."

A diagnosis no parent wants to hear, or believe.

"I think you made a mistake because my daughter is healthy, she's an athlete, she sings in the choir. Couldn't be happening to us," Sophia's mother, Crista explained.

"Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, and so what happens with Leukemia, is those white blood cells figure out a way to grow out of control," Dr. Sison said. "Texas Children's Cancer Center is the largest pediatric cancer center in the United States. Each patient has their own primary team. Meaning that they're followed by an attending physician, a nurse practitioner and a nurse coordinator who know about the patient's care."

Sophia started her treatments immediately and saw results shortly thereafter.

"She was in remission right off the bat. And from that time on she's been going either going one or two times a week for treatments for the entire year. And now we just crossed a major milestone where she's finally in maintenance," Crista said.

While the outcome is positive, Sophia still has a little over a year for treatments. Because she's been an inspiration to others fighting similar battles, she was asked to perform the national anthem at this year's Family Fun Run. An event put on by Texas Children's and the Houston Marathon Foundation.

"I'm so excited to sing because I've been singing ever since I was little; singing in a church, singing at my dad's restaurant. To find out that I was going to be singing at this event was amazing," Sophia said.

After hours and hours of practice, it was finally show time.