Vancouver man donates 4,000 CDs to hospital’s music therapy program

Vancouver's Brian Thompson was tired of all the clutter around his home.

The former music buyer for now-defunct A&B Sound had a collection of some 4,000 CD's that were mostly just collecting dust so instead of trying to sell them he decided to put them to good use. After talks with friend Chris Brandt, who happens to be the executive director of Music Heals Canada, a not-for-profit organization that funds increased access to music therapy for a wide range of patients, he found a home for the music.

Last week he donated the 4,000 CDs to the Vancouver General Hospital's music therapy program.

"Why be defined by my possessions? Rather I’d prefer to be defined by my actions," he said.

"I reached out to the music therapy community, and the only rule was you have to take all of them, I don't want to splinter these [CDs] up, " Brandt told CBC News.

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Music therapist Gemma Isaac, who works in the hospital's burn unit, was thrilled to receive the huge music collection.

"We know from evidence-based research that patents who listen to preferred music have reduced anxiety and distraction from pain," Isaac told the Vancouver Sun.

"Music really helps not just the physical healing, but it also supports the emotional and spiritual healing of someone suffering from trauma. It’s simple. It’s effective and there are no side-effects that drugs can have."

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Vancouver General Hospital's music program depends on donations from community members and the B.C. Professional Firefighters Burn Fund.

"From a music therapy perspective, the generous donation of CDs presents an opportunity for patients to choose their preferred music at a time and place when they feel like they may have no choice or control over what is happening to them during their long, and at times arduous, recovery process at the hospital. In music therapy, song choices open doors for patients to express themselves and feel validated while the music therapist is present to support the patient's process," said Isaac.

Thanks to a previous donation of 24 music-playing stations, burn-unit patients can listen to CDs and iPod playlists at their hospital bedsides.

"Music has such an amazing power in our lives and its therapeutic qualities are often overlooked," Thompson told Music Heals, the organization that helped connect him with Isaac.

"It has the ability to save lives and to help people feel less alone. It is my hope that this donation of music can help bring some much needed comfort and escape during the difficult and painful moments in someone's life."

Thompson didn't expect his donation to garner national attention, but he's thankful it did.

"I've already received numerous messages from people who want to do something similar, including a friend who's now inspired to donate his entire comic collection to a hospital. just think of how amazing that would be for a children's ward to receive!" he wrote on his blog.

(Photo credit: Brian Thompson/Facebook)