President of the capital financing and real estate investment consultancy Legend Advisory Corporation, Michael Quiel possesses more than 23 years of experience in investment and financial management. Besides having helped growing high-risk companies acquire several hundred million dollars in debt financing and equity, Michael Quiel has also contributed significant monetary donations to support the Mark Rypien Foundation. Through its funding of activities such as the Music Therapy program at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington, the foundation assists families in the Inland Northwest who have a child struggling with cancer.
Since November 2007, the Rypien Foundation has funded a part-time music therapist who operates the Music Therapy program in the Pediatric Oncology wing of Sacred Heart. Music therapists are accredited health professionals who possess either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music therapy, and may also have completed continuing education that qualifies them for a certificate awarded by the Certification Board for Music Therapy.
Employing techniques demonstrated by research to help enhance patient well-being, the Sacred Heart music therapist engages children undergoing cancer treatment in activities, such as dancing, singing, and drumming, that help alleviate their stress and provide them with a channel for expressing both their anxieties and hopes. This therapeutic approach can be particularly impactful for children in the oncology ward who are too young to have developed the language skills that would allow them to articulate their feelings verbally.
Along with these cathartic benefits, the Music Therapy program also teaches children skills that boost their inner strength during a time when they may feel they are facing insurmountable odds. The music therapist teaches children in the program how to play an instrument and write songs. These new skills can bring them a sense of empowerment that counteracts the feelings of hopelessness which often accompany cancer treatment.
Since the Music Therapy program can be a valuable tool for improving the health and mood of children of all ages during cancer treatment, the Rypien Foundation seeks to provide the resources that will allow Sacred Heart to offer the service to any child in its care.