When you think about it, music is part of our lives everyday. When your life is turned upside down, it can play an important role to help soothe, relax and even uplift you. Nancy Naeve Brown found that to be especially true for a daughter who gave her mother the gift of music while at the Avera Cancer Institute.
When the planning began for the new Avera Cancer Institute more than 3 years ago, the arts were always intended to play a crucial role.
As Jennifer Weier plays the Baby Grand on the first floor of the Prairie Center and music fills the building, this is exactly what Avera envisioned for a patient-centered healing environment. For this University of Nebraska (Lincoln) college freshman tickling the ivories here and now goes beyond sharing her gift. For her it's deeply personal. Her mom Jan Weier is a patient and watching her play a few floors up. Jan was diagnosed with Stage 3, but curable, breast cancer in late October 2010.
Jennifer says, "I just hope she doesn't suffer. She never complains about anything and does everything for us so it was hard when we heard she had cancer. She doesn't deserve it."
Jan says, "I started with chemo, a combination of 2 different kinds right now. They tell me this is the tough stuff, but I'm coming through that really well and been able to teach every day since I started by treatment. I'm doing really well."
Jan, a vocal and band teacher in Freeman, has been coming to the Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls one day bi-weekly since she was diagnosed, but for this chemo session she went out on her infusion suite balcony with her other daughter Jacque to listen and live in the moment.
Jan says with tears streaming down her face, "I could cry. It's nice. Music is nice. It's beautiful to hear her play. She's been off to college so I haven't been able to hear her as much now I get to hear her again and being up here it's nice."
Jennifer says, "She's gone through a lot and just anything to make her happy, I'm more than happy to do for her."
Jan says, "I'm so proud of my children they are so helpful and supportive and for her to come play it's nice.'
Since all 4 of the Weier children were brought up playing the piano soon after they could walk they know the therapeutic value of music. For their mom who instilled that love in them it's warming to her core that it's coming around full circle.
Jan tells us she in for a long haul. She is getting chemo therapy treatments weekly now then she will have surgery followed by radiation. She says the entire Avera staff, the new building and her family have all been wonderful.