My Music Rx brings smiles to ailing kids


Children's Cancer Association in partnership with Waterfront Blues Festival

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Elke Downer brings smiles to the faces of families going through cancer treatments at Randall Children’s Hospital.

The Children’s Cancer Association is a non-profit that brings bedside music to kids in a program called My Music Rx. That program is a bright spot when 3-year-old Stella has to be there.

“In December of 2017 she went from this super-healthy, good little girl to being sick all the time,” her mother told KOIN 6 News. Months later, Stellas was diagnosed with leukemia and she’s now been through 18 months of treatment — with another year left to go.

Elke Downer with Children’s Cancer Association, July 2019 (KOIN)

Elke and other Children’s Cancer Association music specialists travel the halls at Randall Children’s Hospital and at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

“Basically we just go floor to floor throughout the hospital with our music cart and we just go room to room to visit with the kids,” she said.

They never know what will happen when they walk into a room. “Sometimes it might actually be that the room wants to have some lullabys,” she said. “Other times it’s the opposite. You’re bringing in high energy and smiles and laughter.”

In addition to the bedside visits, artists like Ed Sheeran and Nick Jonas have recorded music videos for the Children’s Cancer Association Bedstock program.

Several artists at the Waterfront Blues Festival will be making their own Bedstock videos. The Waterfront Blues Festival has a unique partnership with the Children’s Cancer Association.

“It’s really a great feeling to just be able to transform everyone in the room,” Elke said.

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