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Music Helps Healing For Sacramento Cancer Patients

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Pediatric patients at Sutter Women's and Children's Center are using music therapy to help them cope with their physical and psychological needs during treatment.

Guitars and drums are becoming new medical equipment for Jordan Sanchez, who is battling a rare form of connective tissue cancer. Through the chemotherapy treatments, surgery and lots of tubes and poking, music therapy has given her a sense of control and expression that will make even the toughest of hearts sing.

It's a way to put sound to feeling. "Here Comes The Sun" has become an anthem of sorts for Sanchez after her spindle cell sarcoma diagnosis last November. The song symbolizes the challenging journey the 17-year-old has been on both musically and medically.

One week out from surgery to remove a tumor from her shoulder and back, the Orland High School senior has been leaning on therapist Daniel Beseda, who has swapped out a lab coat for an orchestra on wheels.

"We blend science with music," he said.

It's a collaboration that studies have shown help children reach their physiological, emotional, cognitive and social goals. Whether it's writing a song, or just banging on a drum, Besdea says it's all sound medicine.

"Music has the power to help us. We all use music in our day to day lives," he said. "Music therapists use that power that music has, in conjunction with a therapeutic relationship, so we facilitate that relationship."

And it's been a game-changer for Sanchez, who now sees herself as much more than just a cancer patient.

"Going through this this treatment, I feel more and more important as just a person," she said. "I finally have the confidence to be like, I'm not just anyone. I can do stuff. I'm actually really helpful."

An instrument giving way to a new anthem and traditional medicine in perfect harmony.

She's hoping she can convince her parents to buy her a drum for her 18th birthday, which is just a few weeks away. Her goal is to be released from the hospital so she can walk with her fellow high-school graduates in the spring.

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