When we started the Music & Medicine program in August, our goal was to use music as a tool to create meaningful experiences for students and the pediatric patients of GUMC. By the end of our first trip, we knew the program would be a success.
That first trip ended with a visit to a nine year-old girl in the transplant unit, who, for the sake of this story, we will call Amy. Amy left an instant impression on all of the volunteers that day. Full of joy and charisma, she became our director and led us through renditions of her favorite songs: “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen” and “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis Presley. After that, no trip was complete without a visit to Amy’s room to play those songs and whatever else was stuck in her head that week. Through music, we became close with Amy and her family and were lucky enough to share in the love and happiness they exuded.
Heartbreakingly, Amy recently passed away. The news devastated our volunteers, her providers, and everyone in the hospital that felt a personal connection to Amy (from the cleaning staff to the chaplain). We, like everyone else that came to know her, counted her as a friend. As she once told the Child Life staff, “Those aren’t the medical students; they’re my friends!” She brought out smiles, laughter, and the inner Disney princess in all of us.
As soon as we heard the news, Music & Medicine came together to play “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” one last time for Amy and her family. The recording process was reflective and healing for our volunteers, and we hope that the song is able to return a fraction of the love that Amy and her family gave to us.
Piano: Zach Winchester
Guitar: Dylan Conroy, John Guzzi, Joe Serino
Violin: Sarah Dermody
Vocals: Ana Arriola, Dylan Conroy, Steph Davis, Hayden Dohnalek, Reuben Falola, Clare Goggins, John Guzzi, Twyla Jaymes, Kim Johnson, Ryan Keane, RJ Marchese, Christine Papastamelos, Sarah Schuessler, Maura Thornton, Zach Winchester
Arrangement, Recording, and Mixing: John Guzzi