Our Support Line is open every weekday from 9am-7pm (AEST). Call us on 1800 592 410 or contact us
Your browser is not supported by this website, please consider browsing the site in a modern browser.

Resources

Katie’s story: Music and childhood cancer treatment

Music can promote connection and strengthen relationships within your family. Katie explored the Redkite Music Box and thought it would be helpful for families facing the cancer experience.

Five-year-old, Joshua (Josh) is the rebel out of his two brothers. He loves alligators, Metallica and playing the drums with his dad. His mother Katie shares how difficult it was trying to manage a family of five when Josh was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2017.

“The cancer diagnosis came as a complete shock. There was no reason for us to suspect Josh was sick, other than a fever. I remember very clearly getting the call from the GP. It was 8:50am in the morning and I was trying to get all three boys into the car to drop Ollie at school. Josh was going to preschool at the time and Albie was in the baby capsule ready to be strapped into the car. Pathology rang and the voice said, “I’m looking at Joshua’s blood results and I have some serious concerns. I think you should go straight to the local emergency department’.”

Doctors eventually gave Katie the diagnosis. “I remember just trying to process the words thinking, ‘Oh my god, he has leukaemia. Leukaemia. This is real. They are cutting into my child’s body tomorrow to make a hole that goes into his heart to fill him full of chemo because he has leukaemia.’ And it hit me hard later that night, once he was beeping away on the ward, with me next to him curled up in the hospital armchair bed, my fists balled into my mouth just trying not to choke with horror. Gasping for air at the shock of it. It was absolutely horrendous.”

During his treatment, Josh became physically unrecognisable.

“It was awful. The steroids made his face so puffy; he could hardly see out of his eyes. For Josh, the discomfort of that was just incredible. I don’t know how he tolerated it – I don’t know how he fell asleep, I don’t know how he walked around.”

‘’It’s a terrifying feeling as a parent. There’s no way around that. You live with fear for a sustained amount of time, months, years of treatment. But Redkite was absolutely incredible. They were there with us every step of the way.”

Redkite Music Box

Katie explored the Redkite Music Box and thought it would be helpful for families facing the cancer experience.

“It is absolutely amazing! Matt [Redkite Music Therapist] is great, easy to engage with and the videos themselves are as well, to both parents and children.”

The Redkite Music Box program offers a fun and helpful way for families and children to improve their wellbeing. Based in the practices of music therapy, the activities use music and movement to help children of different ages (0 to 18) and abilities to better cope with the effects of cancer. Parents and carers can also find practical tips on how to use music at home to enhance their family’s quality of life during a child’s cancer treatment and beyond.

The Redkite Music Box program can be accessed while staying in hospital, at home as an outpatient or after treatment is finished. If your child is receiving music therapy in hospital, this resource can be used alongside the therapeutic activities they are doing with their music therapist.

“It’s such a rich resource with so much depth in there. A huge congratulations to Redkite on creating this for families.”

  • Expressing Feelings: Children with cancer often have lots of feelings they find hard to talk about. Music lets them express their emotions, fears, and worries in a safe and creative way.
  • Less Stress: Calming music can lower stress, help you relax, and improve sleep, which is important for a child’s health.
  • Pain Relief: Research has shown that listening to music can therapeutically enhance pain tolerance, perceived control over pain and reduce anxiety more effectively than visual distraction or silence (1).
  • Improved Communication: Sometimes, because of their illness or treatment, children might have difficulty speaking. Music helps them communicate and express themselves.
  • Better Thinking: Playing a musical instrument can help boost brain skills, like remembering things, focusing on tasks, and solving problems – all which are great for school and also life in general.

“The program is fantastic. From my navigating around the Redkite Music Box, I think it is really helpful and will be so impactful for families.”

“I thought the choice of photography and the tone of the colours was also really good; it’s calm, fresh, invigorating, clean, accessible, neutral, friendly, reassuring somehow in that it feels professional but still accessible.”

If you would like to connect with a music therapist at your hospital, please ask your treating team.

Get instant access to Redkite Music Box on myRedkite

[1] Mitchell, L. A., MacDonald, R. A. R., & Knussen, C. (2008). An investigation of the effects of music and art on pain perception. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2(3), 162–170. 

Request information And support

We’re ready to help. Please call us on 1800 REDKITE (Mon – Fri 9am – 7pm AEST), or fill out the form below.

    Services interested in:

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Case Studies

    JobAccelerator: Practical help to re-enter the workforce

    “Having this support for me to re-enter the workforce has just completely changed the trajectory of our family, financially and helped me emotionally and mentally, feeling like I can achieve things again.”

    JobAccelerator: Practical help to re-enter the workforce

    “Having this support for me to re-enter the workforce has just completely changed the trajectory of our family, financially and helped me emotionally and mentally, feeling like I can achieve things again.”

    Ideas

    Counselling: when you’re ready, we are here

    Redkite provides free counselling for adults. You can talk to us once or twice, or more often if you need. It’s up to you.

    Counselling: when you’re ready, we are here

    Redkite provides free counselling for adults. You can talk to us once or twice, or more often if you need. It’s up to you.

    Ideas

    How to help mums facing childhood cancer

    It can be hard to know how to help a mother when their child has been diagnosed with cancer. Offering the right help can make all the difference.

    How to help mums facing childhood cancer

    It can be hard to know how to help a mother when their child has been diagnosed with cancer. Offering the right help can make all the difference.

    Relationships

    A guide for grandparents of children affected by childhood cancer

    This booklet answers some of the many questions which grandparents of children with cancer told Redkite they would have liked answered when their grandchild was diagnosed and during their grandchild’s treatment phase.

    A guide for grandparents of children affected by childhood cancer

    This booklet answers some of the many questions which grandparents of children with cancer told Redkite they would have liked answered when their grandchild was diagnosed and during their grandchild’s treatment phase.