Jonathan’s Story


Six year old Jonathan is currently receiving treatment for a neuroblastoma in the oncology ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital. His parents were given a worrying prognosis when he was first diagnosed at 18 months.  Since then, Jonathan has been through a number of gruelling treatments, including chemotherapy and has undergone surgical interventions in order to fight his cancer.

For Jonathan, life has not been a typical child’s life. He has gone through painful and exhausting treatments which have kept him in hospital for long periods of times.

Frequently, he’s not even able to leave his hospital room due to the high risk of infection. As a result, he has limited opportunities to develop his skills, interact with others or explore the world around him, at a time in life when development and playing are crucial. This also affects Jonathan’s mood, where it’s easy to become bored and lose interest and motivation.

However, even from the confines of his hospital bed, music allows Jonathan to express himself and brings him joy! The simple action of hitting a cymbal is powerful in giving him the responsibility of controlling something, namely the song’s rhythm. For a child in Jonathan’s position, this is crucial.

Music therapy also provides Jonathan with an opportunity to spend time with his parents, who face constant uncertainty about his future, and who also fear the damage the treatments could cause to Jonathan’s organs. His parents love music too and usually join in with Jonathan and his music therapist’s music-making. 

When taking into account the limitations of Jonathan’s life, music allows him to experience meaningful social engagement where he can freely explore, in addition to having a sense of control and responsibility. Most of all, he gets to experience the indescribable joy of playing music!

Jonathan’s mum says:

“Despite all the treatments, we are very thankful that his organs are not damaged. Actually, he’s got an excellent ear!
It’s such a joy to see and hear Jonathan in music therapy. He connects so deeply with music that he can be fully himself, music brings the best energy and positivity out of him.
Jonathan’s favourite activity in the hospital is spending time with people, especially making music”