Shadow Smiles at Sweet Sound

Posted on Jun 10, 2018

Lying in bed, virtually immobile, 20-year-old Shadow hears the music drift in from the hallway.

Violin? Cello? Not sure.

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." The Florida Orchestra is paying a visit to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

Shadow’s mother, Melody, jumps for joy. “That was a smile,” she thinks. “I can’t believe it.”

She snaps a picture on her cellphone and runs into the hallway to show anyone who might care. “I haven’t seen him smile like this in ages.”

Shadow loves music. He used to dance and dance and dance when he heard it. Now he is physically limited and non-verbal.

Music is communication.

Shadow has been battling a rare genetic mutation his entire life. So rare, it doesn’t even have a real name. CACN1AB. A cold and impersonal mystery yet to be solved.

Melody is his biggest supporter and eagerly seeks information that will help him heal. In the meantime, our music therapists know that music can be more than entertainment. It is also a tool that serves health and well-being.

Mom enlists the help of a nurse and Child Life specialist to quietly slide Shadow’s bed into the hallway so he can enjoy the visual stimulation that is connected to this elegant sound.

The sweet gentle vibrations of beautiful music create a smile.


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