“I’ll go down to radiation oncology, go up to the NICU,” she says. It’s a soothing, peaceful sound.
And she meets people, like the Sullivans from Portland, Maine. Last spring 21-year-old Patrick Sullivan was at the Brigham in tough shape with a form of cancer called lymphoma.
“You could kind of watch the disease travel through my body,” he says. Four months of chemotherapy knocked it down, but not out. He needed a stem cell transplant. On that day, Nancy was playing harp in the lobby when Patrick’s’ mother Barbara heard her.
The two talked. “She was just wonderful and she was just sharing with me not to be scared,” says Barbara Sullivan.
Barbara told Nancy that Patrick would undergo the transplant, but that’s all the musician knew. Barbara hurried to her son’s side as doctors and nurses gathered to begin the procedure.
“I’m lying in bed, and I hear music,” Patrick remembers. “It turned out that Nancy not only had found us, but was outside our room and playing,” Barbara says.
Nancy says she had a feeling she should go to that floor. “I think my music makes people feel good and I think when you feel good, a lot of things can happen,” Nancy says. “It was beautiful, the music, and it really touched me. I just knew that everything was meant to be happening,” Patrick says.
Thursday was the first time they’ve seen each other since the transplant. “It makes me feel like, that’s it. We did it,” Nancy says. “It was just something that we will remember forever,” Barbara adds.
Patrick is doing well now and has returned to college where he majors in biology. Nancy has been playing at the Brigham for 10 years. She calls what she’s doing H-A-R-P: Harmonizing And Radiating Peace, something that has touched hundreds of lives.