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Avery's Message on Music & Healing

Avery's Message on Music & Healing

Avery told her patient story at the Music Heals KEXP event on March 2, where DJs and people whose lives have been touched by cancer shared the meaningful music that got them through. Eleven-year-old Avery, an SCCA Proton Therapy Center patient with a kind of brain cancer called atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT), told her story. You can watch the entire speech here (and you should, it’s amazing); but here are the highlights:

“My name is Avery. I’m 11 years old and started middle school this year. My world was turned upside-down when I was diagnosed with AT/RT in August. AT/RT is a very rare brain cancer that requires aggressive treatment for a year. Since my tumor was so large and in such a bad spot they couldn’t operate at first. Instead, my journey started at the Proton Center. I went to school during the day, then my parents and I drove to the Proton Center every night for six weeks, or 31 times.

Every single night on our drive from West Seattle up north, we listened to music. We actually had a playlist called “Treatment”. There were just enough songs to get us there and back. During the drive up we played the slower songs like One Step Away by Casting Crowns and my mom usually cried as she sang the words and held my hand. But on the way home, we’d just checked off one more treatment, and we happily blasted songs like Downtown by Macklemore. I liked this ritual. Music has a way of expressing feelings you sometimes can’t get out on your own.

After I was done with radiation, I went on to start six months of high dose chemotherapy and a surgery to finally remove my tumor. In January, they miraculously were able to do just that and removed 100% of it. My radiation had killed most of it!  

Whatever music might speak to you, I hope you find healing and encouragement in letting it fill you up.” 

Thank you, Avery, for sharing your story and your great news!

Avery poses in KEXP's Green Room.

Everyone crowds into the studio with the live DJ.

John Richards give a tour of the studio.

Here is KEXP's extensive vinyl collection. It's all being digitized.