Music therapy program hits the right note for Julie

It seemed to be just a normal Friday for Julie, when she suddenly noticed a rash appear on her legs. Julie went to her GP to get blood tests taken – the following Tuesday she was admitted to The Alfred.

Julie and her family then received the unexpected news that she had adult acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes a large number of abnormal blood cells.

Sitting in the ward worried about the diagnosis and upcoming treatment, Julie took a breath and heard music very faintly in the background. This was Lucy’s harp playing, made possible thanks to the music therapy program funded through Dry July.

“Immediately I felt more relaxed about the treatment and journey ahead. The music was just beautiful; it was so very soothing,” Julie said.

Music is something that Julie has treasured, with her father playing the violin and piano when she was younger. It brought great comfort when she needed it most.

Julie was admitted again for chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. This resulted in a major seizure which saw her rushed to ICU and put into an induced coma. This was some of the toughest times for the family. Julie said the music therapy even gave her children hope.

Spending more than 12 weeks in hospital across the two admissions, Julie said that Lucy and her music “really jollied me along”.

Music therapy improves the patient experience, reduces anxiety and offers experiences of joy during such a stressful time. Julie couldn’t stress enough the importance of music therapy.

“It is a wonderful program for staff, patients and families, the music calmed the whole ward”, she said.

Julie is now in remission with transfusions twice a week. Lucy is continuing to provide music therapy to support cancer patients in their time of need.

Your participation this Dry July will help more patients like Julie benefit from music therapy.

The Alfred, Melbourne