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Music therapy program at Montreal Children's Hospital gets $1M donation

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Montreal pop musician Charlotte Cardin paid a visit to the Montreal Children’s Hospital’s Music Therapy Program Tuesday as it received a $1,000,000 donation.

A large crowd gathered in the P.K. Subban Atrium to enjoy a mini-concert by 12-year old Ella Huot-Attia who sang a song she wrote during one of her music therapy sessions as a patient at the children's hospital.

"There's not a lot of perfect moments but when they come, you have to savour them," the girl said, speaking of her inspiration for the song.

Ella got to perform her song in front of singer-songwriter Cardin, who was named special ambassador to the program.


Ella Huot-Attia, 12, sang a song she wrote during one of her music therapy sessions as a patient at the Montreal Children's Hospital.

"Music has helped me through a lot in my life and music therapy is extremely real and important," said Cardin. "I have seen my own eyes a beautiful encounter with a music therapist at the hospital and a little two-year-old patient who was in treatment and just sharing a beautiful musical moment with the music therapist."
 

Ella Huot-Attia got to meet Montreal singer-songwriter Charlotte Cardin (photo: Christine Long / CTV News Montreal)

That was Pascal Comeau, who has been part of the music therapy program at The Children's Hospital for 31 years.

"Children are here for long periods of time and they may be frustrated, they may be angry they go through all kinds of feelings and with musical instruments. It takes a few seconds and it change their mood. Really, it takes a few seconds. Once they express it then they feel better and they can cope better with their hospitalization," he said.

MUHC research says music therapy even reduces patients' perception of pain.

William Arevelo agrees. His son is non-verbal but really responds to the music therapy.

"He's been almost four months here," he said. "Sometimes he's angry, sometimes we cannot tolerate the bed. When he listens to the music, his face changes because he likes the music."

Ella used to dance, until illness reduced her mobility drastically.

"I couldn't dance and that made me very sad, so singing helped me dance again and now I dance in my wheelchair," she said.

"We have some patients that are probably going to be artists one day," said Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation president Renee Vezina. "They're writing their own songs and playing their own instruments so very grateful to the Sandra and Alain Bouchard Foundation for their $1 million gift."

Vezina said the donation will keep the music therapy program going for many more years -- plenty of time for Ella to write more songs.

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