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Healing through music: Summer interns given unexpected task

Lake Highlands and Booker T. Washington high school seniors play music for patients at Baylor Scott and White Heart and Vascular Hospital.

Like most of the interns at Baylor Scott and White Heart and Vascular Hospital, 17-year-olds Valerie McNamara and Madeline Sabedra expected their summers would be pretty ho-hum.

“I was expecting regular intern stuff like filing papers,” Sabedra said.

Their expectations changed once their resumes landed on the desk of the hospital’s director of education, Art Signo.

“We saw that they could do more, and we wanted them to understand that their talents, their skills can be used today to help take care of the patients here in our hospital,” Signo said.

Signo believed the teens were qualified to be music volunteers.

McNamara, a senior at Lake Highlands High School and Sabedra, a senior at Booker T. Washington, are both accomplished musicians. And both want to pursue a career in healthcare.

That’s why they applied for the Dallas Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program, even though they felt unqualified.

“I was pretty surprised when I got this just because my entire resume was music cause that’s all I do pretty much,” McNamara said.

Turns out, playing music is what they're doing in a hospital setting. 

Sebedra plays the violin and McNamara plays the flute for patients, something the patients say comforts them.

“Just hearing them say that you made my day so much better and you’ve helped me take my mind off what I’m going through, that’s great to hear,” the violinist said.

They are neither doctors nor surgeons, but Sabedra and McNamara have had a profound impact on the heart.

“That made my day so much pleasant that I can face whatever happens today and tomorrow,” said patient Patricia Gaulding.

Whether or not the girls’ brand of medicine has the power to heal, they say they don’t need any proof because they can already see the results.

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