Hearing a musician tickle the ebony and ivory of a piano can be a mesmerizing, relaxing experience. And that’s the goal behind a generous donation from the Jeffrey Frank Wacks Memorial Fund. The donation will help create a “Music in the Atrium at the Park” program, allowing music to flow from the lobby of the new Summit Medical Group MD Anderson Center at Florham Park, lifting spirits and providing musical comfort to cancer patients and caregivers as they prepare for their day in the medical center.
“The music offers patients and their caregivers an opportunity to relax, refocus and catch their breath before or after treatments, doctors’ visits, radiation – those times when anxieties run high and emotions are spiraling,” explained Founder, Linda Wacks.
With the grant, Summit Medical Group Foundation was able to purchase a mini-baby grand digital piano, with self-player capabilities so that music can be enjoyed even when musicians are not there to provide it. Beginning late spring, musician Bob Egan will play the piano every Thursday morning, while light refreshments are served to patients and caregivers surrounding their services.
The Fund was established in honor of Wacks’ son who passed away in 1996 after an eight-month battle with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Jeffrey Wacks was an avid musician and his mother was an early proponent of music therapy. She cites the countless studies that demonstrate the positive impact music has on cancer patients, including lowered heart rates, reduced pain and increased feelings of well-being – similar to the effects when therapy animals are used. “Music therapy, art therapy, healing touch—these things make a huge difference to patients,” says Wacks, who is pleased that the new cancer center will offer a robust suite of wellness services to patients and their families.