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South Valley Journal

Music To Their Ears

Feb 13, 2015 06:29PM ● By Linda Petersen

Rocky Mountain Care patients, from left, Norm Baugh, Everett Walters, Becky Bingham and Mary Helen Dill (posing here with Herriman Rugby players) were thrilled when the Herriman High Rugby Club brought them iPod shuffles. Photo courtesy of Billy Ward

Thanks to the kindness of two Herriman High clubs, patients recuperating from surgery or illness at Riverton’s Rocky Mountain Care will now have music to help them heal.

The rugby team recently donated 50 iPod shuffles to be used to help patients therapeutically through music. Health Occupations Students of America members raised $300 from sponsoring blood drives to buy iTunes gift cards to load music onto the iPods.

The rugby team collected donations from among their family and friends, even posting on Facebook for help with the project.

“When we were contacted about the project, we definitely wanted to do it,” coach Derek Smith said. “As a rugby team, we always want to be a good influence in the community.”

“Anytime you can teach young men it’s not all about them, it’s a good thing,” he added. “We hope to help out in the future.”

The iPods will be loaded with music of various genres.
Everett Walters and Norm Baugh charmed their young visitors when Herriman High HOSA club members visited them at Rocky Mountain Care. Photo courtesy of Jody Burningham

 “Music from their era is comforting to them,” Jody Burningham, a master’s of social work intern and University of Utah graduate student, said. “It can help patients who are feeling anxious, depressed or in pain. Some of them don’t receive a lot of visitors and this helps them.”

Most patients at Rocky Mountain Care stay for an average of 20 days. It can be a difficult time for them, away from family and familiar surroundings, particularly if they suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Music can really help when they’re agitated, Burningham said.

After identifying the need patients had for access to music, Burningham reached out to the school’s clubs in December for help. Smith and HOSA president Claudia Loayza responded.

“They have been amazing,” Burningham said. “These clubs they really stepped up to the plate.”

Claudia said she was looking for a project to involve the more than 50 club members in a good cause when this opportunity came along.

Patient Everett Walters who loves to sing, country western music and Elvis, told of an experience he had with surgery at the University of Utah Hospital. They let him listen to music before and after the surgery. Then during a particularly difficult night he left the music on all night.

“It got me through,” he said. “When I woke up, I was much better.”

For his part, patient Norm Baugh couldn’t believe that more than 100 songs could be played on the tiny iPod shuffle.

“That is wonderful. What a neat world we live in,” he said.

As soon as the team brought the iPods, patients started trying them out.

“I was just thinking what we need around here is some music,” Becky Bingham said.