How Music is Helping Kids with Cancer Fly Through Treatment

HOUSTON – The Purple Songs Can Fly program at Texas Children’s Hospital gives children going through their cancer treatment a platform for their voices to be heard.

Founded in 2006, Purple Songs Can Fly is a unique program that provides a musical outlet for the many children being treated for cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center. 11-year-old Ariana has written two songs with Purple Songs Can Fly. She said the songs helped her get through treatment for Leukemia. One of her songs is about her little sister.

Each child who crafts a song take part in writing the lyrics, crafting the musical tones in their song, and determines how to communicate their thoughts and feelings through song.

“I think most kids never think about writing a song and all they have to do is go into the the studio and Anita and her staff make songwriters out of all of them and they come out with these most beautiful really empowers them and the more empowered they are the better they do with their treatment,” said Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, who is a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Purple Songs Can Fly Founder and Executive Director, Anita Kruse, came to Texas Children’s Hospital several years ago as a visiting artist to the cancer center. At this time she had the idea to do something bigger and this is how the Purple Songs Can Fly program came about.

“It has been an amazing experience to create this and then see all the ways it has touched children and their families. I think the songs are really important to their families too,” she told Houston Life.

The program is the first of its kind and children and their siblings work with Kruse, and other professional singer/songwriters in an in-hospital recording studio to write and record original songs within short sessions.

Patients have written more than 3,000 original songs to date, and these songs have flown on two space shuttle missions, toured the world with The Rolling Stones, traveled on an undersea NOAA mission, summited Mount Everest, and flown with the Blue Angels.

Hear Ariana’s song in the video above.

About the Author:

Melanie Camp is a correspondent on KPRC 2’s Houston Life.