“I love music. It gives me a lot of happiness when I listen to it,” he said. All the patients in the cancer ward enjoyed the music for an hour that was arranged to make them relax. It was organised by Ashwin Maharaj Foundation, a Chennai-based NGO.
R Manonmani, the managing trustee of the foundation, said it was her second son’s dream to use music as therapy for cancer patients. “I lost Ashwin to leukemia in 2015 and it was his dream that we are fulfilling,” said Manonmani.
Nearly 15 students from various colleges such as the PSG College of Technology, PSG College of Arts and Science, PSG Institute of Management, Government Arts College, PSGR Krishnamal College for Women and GRD College of Arts and Science played musical instruments and sang for the patients.
Chitra, who was in the ward with her husband, said it was a welcome change at the ward. “Usually, this ward is very depressing. So this type of music not just relaxes the patients but also the relatives of the patients and the hospital staff,” said Chitra.
Manonmani said they have conducted these sessions in cancer research institute in Gujarat, Bengaluru and Chennai. “My son wanted to bring music as a therapy for cancer patients because he was benefited by it in San Diego in the US during his treatment. Music reduces nausea, pain and also induces sleep. It is also good for mood swings,” said Manonmani.
R Keerthana, a first-year MBA student, said she loved singing and wanted to be a part of this event. “We are all music lovers. Though performing for the patients is a different experience we wanted to be a part of this. After today’s session, we will get feedback from the patients and the staff of the hospital and play music of their choice,” said Keerthana.
Swathi B, a singer from Government Arts College, said they were part of the college’s NSS unit and would get more singers every week.
Resident medical officer, Soundaravel of CMCH said that they would make it a routine event twice every week. “We are grateful to the foundation and the volunteers who have come forward. We will set up more speakers next time and slowly extend it to other wards as well,” said Soundaravel.
These volunteers will also distribute a high protein mix powder that could be consumed in the form of a porridge to all the patients. “Each college will take up responsibility every month for this,” said Manonmani.