John Whitley, Pancreatic Cancer Support Group, New York Presbyterian Hospital

—Last Summer, the members of my Pancreatic Cancer Support Group at New York Presbyterian Hospital were visited by a group of Health Profession Students from Columbia University – members of an organization called “Humans In Harmony” who have a passion for drama, music and the performing arts.

…In short – this amazing group of young people came to our meeting to talk to us, interview us, then went away to write a song for each one of us. My songwriter wasn’t able to be at the meeting so one of his colleagues interviewed me, took detailed notes and said that she would sit down with him and tell him my story.

The September meeting – the students returned and I finally got to meet my song-writer Mike, a second year medical student from Canada. We went off to a quiet corner of the unit and I got to see the expressions on his face as I told him the full story of my survival and my dedication to bringing love, hope and hugs to current pancreatic cancer patients and their families. He handed me a pair of ear buds and he played the song that he had written and recorded for me. By the end, I was in tears, hugging him. The smile on his face was magical – we both realized that in music, somehow he had managed to “capture” my spirit.

We went back to the meeting and all the songs were played. Laughter, joy, a celebration of life …. And the tears when they played the song that had been written for LB, a much-loved member of our Group who had passed away just a few days before the meeting.

We have just received our copies of the songs. My song “Better” is truly a gift. My heartfelt thanks to young “Doctor Mike” and all the wonderful members of Humans In Humanity. I have been going to almost every monthly meeting for over 5 years, what you did was so special. You gave us something more than just a song, you gave us your love.

Thank you.