Guitars and Pars is a creative mix of live music and golf that takes place over two days in May in Austin, Texas. The goal of Guitars and Pars is to raise money to fund the operations of the Music Therapy program at Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Music Therapy plays an integral role in the Child Life Services provided at Dell Children’s.
However, because it is not a billable service, the Music Therapy Program is funded entirely by philanthropy.
2022 will mark the 7th year of the event, and the 4th year funding the Music Therapy Program. Since the inception of the event we have been able to raise over $882,000!
Recently, one of the music therapists, Della, worked with a young man named JD. When JD was 15 years old, he was rushed by ambulance to Dell Children’s Emergency Room due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. JD’s heart stopped in the ambulance ride as first responders resuscitated him before his arrival. His parents were at home when they heard the gunshot from his bedroom and it was their swift response in calling 911 that got him to Dell Children’s, where his life was ultimately saved through emergency surgery.
JD’s father had to stay behind at their home to talk with police as his mother rode with him in the ambulance. When they arrived, and he was admitted to surgery, a pastor was called to the bedside, which is something his mother will never forget. After surgery, JD was in a coma for 6 weeks. His parents never left his side. As JD emerged from the coma he began his recovery in the pediatric intensive care unit, where he met Della. She would be by his side throughout his recovery and develop a very special relationship with his family. During his inpatient rehabilitation stay, Della worked with JD’s physical therapist focusing on his speech and motor skills, making great progress in using musical cues for him to move his body down the therapy mat.
One day during JD’s treatment, local musician Jack Ingram was touring the hospital. During Jack’s visit, Della arranged for JD and Jack to meet in the chapel. It was a particularly low point in JD’s treatment and she knew this would help make his day a little better.
At this point, JD’s motor skills still weren’t 100% and Jack had a profound moment connecting with him when JD reached out and strummed his guitar. Jack and JD have remained friends since that day and it has meant so much to his family.
This is just one example of the countless ways that music therapy is impacting children and their families when they are dealing with unimaginable situations, illnesses and pain. Whether it is buying equipment to help with therapy or funding the therapist’s salary, these critical dollars are not provided by the hospital, which is why we have focused our fundraising effort to support the needs of the Music Therapy program.