UAB music therapy program provides healing for mind & body

Healing through music at UAB

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Music is uplifting for the soul and proving to be the healing powers for some of UAB's critically ill patients, including 22-year-old burn patient Markeyla Williams.

She suffered  burns on her head, shoulders, arms and hands. She was airlifted to UAB in May. She's been here ever since undergoing treatment, that includes occupational therapy, but recently, she added another form of therapy to her treatment.

"She said, 'Can I sing a few songs with you?' And I was like yeah, but I was kind of nervous because I was like I don't know if I'm going to know any of the songs that she knows. So she was like, 'What kind of music do you like?' and I said R&B," recalled Markeyla.

"I was trying to think through what was a fun song that we can start with to get her engaged and the first one that came to my mind was "Irreplaceable," by Beyoncé, because who doesn't love Beyoncé?" said Nicole Camp, UAB's board-certified music therapist.

And just briefly, Markeyla forgot she was in a hospital room.

"You could see the smile on her face and you can just see she was distracted from that pain and it was a moment of joy for her and then it was an awesome experience," said Camp.

It was a moment Markeyla's mother captured on camera and shared through social media, giving the attention of thousands of people, some dealing with the same pain.

"I wanted it to be a memory so when I started recording it," said Michelle Williams, Markeyla's mom. "I couldn't even hold a video up straight because I was crying. It was just a comforting thing not only for her but for us in the room."

UAB's musical therapy  program was established back in 1999 and the goal is to work to decrease anxiety, depression and pain in patients, all while providing emotional support through every chord, every note, and every song.

"This gave me extra faith and gave me that extra push that I needed," said Markeyla.

UAB has seven music therapist on staff. Camp said some of the most requested songs include anything by Johnny Cash and "Amazing Grace."

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