To honor their son who died with cancer after many treatments, including proton therapy, a couple decided to raise funds to start a music therapy program at Stollery Children’s Hospital.
In 2011, Aidan Barnes was diagnosed with undifferentiated sarcoma on the back of his skull.
When he stopped responding to chemotherapy, he was referred to the Massachusetts General Hospital for proton radiation therapy, as it was easier on his body than traditional radiation therapy. When the Barnes accompanied Aidan to the hospital, they saw him respond to music therapy.
« He just got to be a kid. He just got to play and have fun », his mom said. She added that it helps patients express emotions they would otherwise be incapable of and gives them something enjoyable that has nothing to do with their treatments.
When the Barnes family returned to Edmonton, they wanted to continue with music therapy at the Stollery, which had tried out the program, but couldn’t keep it running because of lack of funding. « We thought this has to be a program at the Stollery. We had spent so much time there and it was such an amazing program that we thought it was something that he had to have when he got back here, » they said.
While in Edmonton, the Barnes found out that Aidan’s condition was terminal, and he passed away on Dec. 13, 2012, a few days before his second birthday. After a few months, they decided to help support music therapy at the Stollery, and began raising funds with the goals of providing two full-time therapists, and any additional materials and backing they need.
Currently, they have raised more than $8,000 for this cause. “This is a way my husband and I can honor our son,” Aidan’s mom said.