Having a child with a serious illness can be tough on parents — and finding them the right help to deal with it can be even more difficult. That's why one non-profit in Central New York is reaching out to introduce people to music therapy.
Adrienne Finnegan lost her son, Kian, from brain cancer at the age of three. Before his passing, music therapy gave him a better quality of life.
“Even when the worst was thrown at him, he would smile, and he would sing, and he would bop," said Adrienne Finnegan who lost her son Kian to brain cancer last year.
Because of it, her time with her son was short and limited.
“Because of the bleed, and the tumor and the injury, he was unable to move; he was unable to eat, to speak," she said.
As she plays music with her daughter June and Kian’s music therapist Amanda, she wonders: Why?
“I don’t get why that had to be his journey," said Finnegan. "It was painful, we just felt helpless and sick from it.”
Kian passed away last September at 3 years old. As Adrienne looked for ways to give him the best life possible, she found music therapy.
“It was the closest thing to magic I think I’ve seen," she said. "I thought music therapy was cool and helpful, but I had no clue it could be as powerful as it was.”
Every beat and lyric invigorated Kian. With personalized sessions, Amanda Maestro-Scherer helped create those magical moments.
"Music therapy is individualized," said Scherer. "Typically with kids who have chronic illnesses who are medically complex like Kian was, we’re going to be addressing approaching quality of life."
According to the National Institutes of Health, music therapy reduces pain, improves relaxation, and allows children to express themselves in a normalized environment.
“It’s so much about just being present and being authentic and allowing the music to do its job," she said.
But one song, "Kian Strong," means more to her than the others.
“You just want your son to have a legacy," said Finnegan. "He meant so much and the fact that he’s not physically here hurts. It feels like I have something to honor him."