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Meet a music therapist working with pediatric cancer patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 4:57 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tickets for the 2022 St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway are up for grabs this week during a special kickoff event Friday.

We’re saluting the miracle workers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In this report, sponsored by St. Jude, Joy Redmond shows how music is often the best medicine.

When you think of the work the medical staff does at St. Jude to help kids heal from cancer, you probably think surgery, chemotherapy, maybe a bone marrow transplant.

But not all heroes wear white coats.

Lizzie DiGiovanni sings lullabies to babies, and in the same day she might get in a workout chasing 2-year-olds on the move.

“We see kids as little as newborns,” she said. “It’s also really energetic when you have a toddler running around who just wants to play and goes all over the place.”

DiGiovanni is a music therapist at St. Jude. She says her job is unique because it’s a form of treatment any patient can benefit from.

“Music reaches all parts of the hospital,” she said. “And that’s why we’re here. We’re here to help kids have the tools they need in order to get through what could be the most trying part of their life.”

DiGiovanni continued, “I love that music is universal because everybody has their favorite song and when they have a favorite song that’s a great gateway for us to have them choose what they want to do or how they want us to do it within their own path with music here.”

While she plays multiple instruments, it wasn’t the piano or guitar that made her choose her career path.

It was learning she could use that skill to impact others, similar to how her life was touched.

“When I was a teenager, I was hospitalized at a pediatric hospital, and in that experience I met a child life specialist and I remember his name,” she said. “I remember what we did together. I probably can’t tell you who my doctors or my nurses were, but I loved working with that child life specialist. He talked to me like I was a person, not my diagnosis. After that encounter, I knew that I wanted to support medical journeys a more non traditional way.”

“I’m so, so happy to say that I’ve ended up coming here to SJ,” said DiGiovanni. “I’ve fallen even more in love with the work that I do and the patients and the care that I’m able to provide.”

From the classics to classic rock, this St. Jude songbird’s fight to end childhood cancer is the perfect pitch.

Regardless of the cost of care, patient families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus only on helping their child live.

That’s where you come in -- unlike other hospitals, the majority of funding for St. Jude comes from generous donors through campaigns like the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.

Tickets officially go on sale THIS FRIDAY, and if you reserve yours by the end of that day you’ll be eligible to win not only a Dream Home but also the ultimate Memphis basketball experience! That includes season tickets to the Memphis Grizzlies, season tickets for Memphis Tigers men’s basketball and a $1,500 Visa gift card!

Go to dreamhome.org for more details!

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