Matthews, North Carolina, USA
Charity: Music therapy program of the Queens University of Charlotte
Medical Condition: Stroke
Medical Therapy: Revascularization Device
Eric was a professional opera singer when, during the early-morning hours of September 20, 2012, he suffered a massive stroke. Physicians treated him with a device to remove the blood clot in his brain and help him recover. Today, Eric is an inspirational speaker/singer and a music therapy student at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Eric's Bakken Invitation Award will support the music therapy program at the university by providing students with scholarships and internship stipends.
"As a professional singer at the time of my stroke, I could sing around and through my early recovery troubles, which were severe aphasia (loss of ability to speak or understand spoken or written language due to disease or brain injury); apraxia (a disorder of the nervous system characterized by an inability to perform purposeful movements, but not with paralysis or a loss of feeling); and dysarthria (difficulty in speech articulation due to poor muscular control, usually related to nerve damage).
"In my current role as a spokesperson or keynote speaker/singer, I give vocal performances and inspirational speeches that I hope will help the teams I speak to become closer in mind and deed, and with everyone’s best interests at heart, so that preventative medicine moves forward.
"I use my extra life to learn about music therapy, and then apply that learning through a nonprofit organization I am starting while enrolled in the music therapy program at Queens University of Charlotte.
"By sharing my stroke story at various stroke events, I have inspired other survivors to never give up, encouraged sales teams to raise the bar even higher, and continued the education for the medical community about how music therapy can benefit stroke survivors."
“The joy of living through shared music is universal, without limits, and can heal entire communities. Changing the way you look at a problem changes the problem.”
Founded in 1857, Queens University of Charlotte is a comprehensive master’s-level university with a commitment to liberal arts and professional studies. Queens aims to provide transformative educational experiences and to enhance the intellectual and cultural fabric of its community. As a current music therapy student at the university, Eric learns how to use music as a therapeutic medium to help people maintain or improve abilities in cognitive, social or motor skills. The grant will support the music therapy program by providing students with scholarships and internship stipends.
*Not everyone who receives this therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story. Talk with your doctor to determine if this type of therapy is right for you.