Bartlesville teenager creates music therapy library to help cancer patients at local support center

BARTLESVILLE, OKLA. - Austin Davis has amassed a large collection of CDs, but they are not for his enjoyment.

The Bartlesville High School senior is instead collecting them for a leadership service project for the marching band, a group he's played in since the ninth grade.

"I just enjoy music," Davis said. "That's why I wanted to do a project that had to do with music."

Davis said he read online where hospitals use music as a form of therapy to comfort and lift the spirits of people fighting cancer. That inspired him to create a music therapy library in his hometown, so he asked his friends and family to donate CDs. In just a week's time, he received more than 200 CDs of all genres and styles.

"I understand why my mom loves to volunteer now," he said with a smile.

The music therapy library is now open at the Hopestone Arts and Cancer Support Center, located at 120 Southwest Frank Phillips Boulevard in downtown Bartlesville.

"Our mission is to unite and empower the cancer community through emotional support, exercise, education and the arts," Dr. Jennifer McKissick said. "The arts is a big one."

McKissick founded the support center in January 2013, modeling it after several facilities she used while seeking treatment for breast cancer. She beat the disease and is now cancer free, but she claims listening to music helped with her recovery.

"I tried to just take care of my mind and spirit, and music is a big component of that," McKissick said.

Cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers can now check out the music collection at the support center for free. In fact people suffering from cancer do not have to pay for any of the services there. They are given free admission to classes for painting, pottery and yoga among many other things.

"The music is here for everyone to enjoy," said Executive Director Deborah Halpin. "All we ask is that they bring (the CD) back and swap it out for something else."

The support center hopes that a few brush strokes, an exercise class or even some music can help someone beat cancer, and Davis said he is just happy to play a part.

"As I've gone along, it's been more than just a project," he said. "It's been something that I want to do and I'm glad to be doing."

Davis would like to collect even more CDs so that he can keep building up the selection at the music therapy library. Anyone interested in donating can drop off CDs at the Hopestone Arts and Cancer Support Center in downtown Bartlesville or at the Davis Family Funeral Home, located at 113 S. Osage in Dewey.

To learn more about Hopestone, visit the support center's website here .

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