Paying Joy Forward: Connor’s Story

What can Joy do? In December 2022, Connor was admitted to Randall Children’s Hospital after experiencing a debilitating brain bleed. Once he’d undergone multiple surgeries, Connor and his family knew weeks of recovery were in front of him.

Such a recovery was a daunting hill to climb — but there was relief on the horizon for Connor: JoyRx Music. When his parents first learned about our program, they had high hopes. Their son loves music, after all! They were optimistic that his passion for piano would help his healing or, at the very least, prove a distraction from the pain of his ongoing recuperation.


Finding Joy Again

Working with JoyRx Music was essential for Connor from the very beginning: Before the team started visiting him, Connor struggled even to wake up in his hospital bed. But the moment he heard the instruments playing during his first session, his eyes popped open, and he was instantly engaged.

In the months he spent at the hospital, the JoyRx team would host regular jam sessions with him, where they’d come together as fellow musicians to play Connor’s favorite songs or riff their way into new melodies.

It wasn’t just Connor who left feeling lighter after these bedside visits, however. Connor’s enthusiasm also inspired others in profound ways.

“Connor has been a huge inspiration for the Portland music team,” said JoyRx Music Specialist Keenan.

“No matter what he’s going through, he radiates positivity. He has a passion to share his musical talent with others and he makes an impact on everyone around him.”


Paying That Joy Forward

As he reached the end of his treatment, Connor wanted to pay Joy forward. He wanted to thank his family and the hospital staff for the time, care, and effort they’d put into supporting him during his rehabilitation.

He proposed an inspiring idea: a mini concert on his last day at the hospital.

On Connor’s discharge day in January 2023, he took to the stage with JoyRx Music Specialists to create some Joy. While doing so, he also perfectly showed the revolutionary ability of music to transform the pediatric healthcare experience — for sick children, hospital staff, and family members.

Connor’s relatives and hospital staff were amazed at Connor’s recovery, listening to his exceptional piano-playing as they clapped along to his performance.

Most of all, though, they were inspired by his positivity and humility.

“We are so grateful to have made the connection with such a special person,” said Keenan. His sentiment is shared with all members of the JoyRx team and healthcare workers: Connor’s kindness and generosity left an impact on all who met him.

On the day of his discharge, he also returned the borrowed keyboard to the JoyRx Music Specialists. It was a symbolic moment in many ways — proving just how far he’d come and how music was a guiding light during his journey.

That’s the wonderful thing about Joy: it starts as the tiniest pluck of a guitar string and blooms into a concert all its own. Music medicine helped Connor feel more like himself again — and so he was motivated to gift Joy to others, too!


A Joyful Music Experience

Here’s a snippet of Connor’s performance — you can see what the power of music achieves for everyone involved by watching the video below.

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