Music Therapy Program seeks LIVESTRONG grant

By Jeff Eason (

Article Published: Apr. 17 | Modified: Apr. 17

Music has many functions.

You can use it to keep time while you dance, it can help create a mood in a movie, and it helps define the different cultures of the world.

For cancer patients, hearing a bit of live music is a chance to escape their worries and anxieties, if just for a few moments.

Appalachian State University’s Music Therapy Clinic has been working with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and the Seby B. Jones Cancer Center to provide live music for cancer patients, both while receiving chemotherapy and in their hospital rooms.

The ASU Music Therapy Clinic’s Jeffrey Frank Wacks Music Therapy Program has recently applied for a grant from the LIVESTRONG Foundation that would expand music therapy services at ARHS.
“We have successfully made it through the first round of the grant application process,” said Melody Schwantes, lecturer in the Music Therapy Program. “Twelve sites will receive $15,000 each from LIVESTRONG, plus training and support.”

The Music Therapy Program is counting on members of the public to vote for the program through the LIVESTRONG website.

To vote, simply visit, then click on Appalachian State University Foundation under the Jeffrey Frank Wacks Music Therapy Program.

That will give the program one vote. If you share your vote on Facebook and Twitter, the program will receive three votes.

According to Schwantes, the music therapy program has been incredibly popular among patients, with musicians playing musical styles that are requested by the patients and their families.

Currently, one of the biggest supporters of the Music Therapy Program has been the Cancer Resource Alliance, a local support organization made up of medical professionals, volunteers and cancer survivors.

“The Cancer Resource Alliance tries to sponsor and fund programs for cancer patients and cancer survivors to help them with their treatments and recovery after treatment,” CRA head Kenneth Kirksey said.

“We sponsor Thrive through the Wellness Center, which helps cancer patients with exercise and nutrition through one-on-one work with a physiologist and a nurse. The patients also meet at the Wellness Center twice a week for group exercise and group support.”

In addition to supporting the music therapy program, the CRA funds an art therapy program and art classes for cancer patients.

“The Cancer Resource Alliance has been able to fund the art and music therapy programs with seed money for a couple of months so they can work on getting grants to continue the programs,” Kirksey said.

The Cancer Resource Alliance is currently funding three hours a week of music therapy.

“Many of the cancer patients specifically request to have their medical sessions on days when we have music therapy at the cancer center,” Kirksey said.

Kirksey added that if the music therapy program successfully gains a LIVESTRONG grant, it would be able to expand the music therapy to six hours a week or more.

“The grant would allow them to see more patients,” Kirksey said. “The grant is really necessary to keep the program going.”

Last year, the annual Grover Robbins Golf Tournament raised money that CRA used to purchase iPads for chemotherapy patients. The CRA has also used its funding to set up Amazon accounts and Netflix subscriptions for cancer patients.

“We are always looking for volunteers,” Kirksey said.

To volunteer your time and/or money to the Cancer Resource Alliance, contact Kirksey at (


The LIVESTRONG Foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer now. Created in 1997, the foundation is known for providing free cancer support services and advocating for policies that improve access to care and quality of life.

Known for its powerful brand — LIVESTRONG — the Foundation has become a symbol of hope and inspiration around the world. Since its inception, the foundation has served 2.5 million people affected by the disease and raised more than $500 million to support cancer survivors.

For more information, visit

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