Rhythm and sound abound at the Women’s Gathering

Watch Daniel’s presentation, including him singing a song he wrote entitled, “This Journey of Mine.”

What do feelings sound like? How music touches the soul, opens the mind and heals the heart.

This was the featured topic at the 13th Annual Women’s Gathering fundraising and awareness event hosted by Rogers Memorial Hospital Foundation on May 16, 2017. Held at the Wisconsin Club, downtown Milwaukee, more than 320 women from across the Milwaukee metro area attended this educational and inspirational luncheon in celebration of mental health and wellness. Here are some highlights from the day:

$66,000 to benefit spiritual care
A record $66,000 was raised at this year’s event! All proceeds support the spiritual care program at Rogers Behavioral Health. Thanks to generous donors, the program is expanding to meet the needs of our patients. Last year, the Chaplains at Rogers made 7,505 patient contacts through one-to-one and group sessions. This is up 28% from the previous year.

Learn more about how the success of this event impacts spiritual care.

Christine Dawley – Music is speech of angels

There was no better person to link spiritual care with the event’s theme of music therapy than Christine Dawley, manager of spiritual care. During the invocation, she stated:

Music can beautifully influence the soul, mind and heart, and combined with faith, produces a powerful and intimate worship experience with God. When was the last time you enjoyed a worship service of any faith without music? I would wager almost never, because music is part of not only every culture but every house of worship around the globe. Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle summarized this well when he said,

“Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. [Music] brings us nearer to the  infinite.”

Elizabeth Murphy (Emcee) – Restoring harmony

We are thankful for our cherished emcee, Elizabeth Murphy. She further set the tone as she welcomed guests and explained,

“When I heard today’s theme for the first time, I thought it was a beautiful description of what Rogers Behavioral Health actually does. They help those hearing discordant notes in their souls to restore harmony to the lyric of their lives. In some sense, you could call them melody makers.”

Heather Hodorowski – Experiencing feelings through rhythm

Indeed, Rogers staff members are just that: melody makers. A wonderful example is Heather Hodorowski, MS, MT-BC, LPC, manager of experiential therapy at Rogers Memorial Hospital – Brown Deer. Using individual, egg-shaped maracas, Heather began her presentation by lightheartedly inviting everyone grab their egg and “shake the ya yas out”! After the laughter subsided, she then guided the room through a music therapy experience using rhythm and sound.

Heather went on to enlighten guests about the many ways music is used to touch one’s soul, open one’s mind and heal one’s heart – whether going about daily life or seeking help for a mental health challenge.

Daniel receives a standing ovation after signing a song he wrote entitled, “This Journey of Mine.”

Karen and Daniel – Inspiring self and others through music

Afterward, mission moment speakers Karen and her son, Daniel, took the stage to share their powerful story of hope and resilience in battling Daniel’s obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette’s syndrome. As Daniel reflected, “I remember sitting in my room at Rogers for most of the day with my back up against the door rocking vigorously back and forth doing my tics/rituals, sweat dripping down my face. It was my world. It was my life.”

“As time went on—and my treatment at Rogers progressed—I was slowly but surely starting to get my life back.” Daniel’s journey took him on more than a few curves. After his first stay at Rogers, he attended a wilderness therapy program in Utah where he continued to progress until one day, when he suffered a profound relapse.

“I somehow miraculously ended up back at the one place that actually knew and had what it takes to help me conquer these monstrous disorders: Rogers.”

This time, however, insurance would not cover his treatment. Thankfully, his treatment team recommended him for a Patient Care Grant from Rogers Memorial Hospital Foundation, which allowed him to stay long enough to get the treatment he needed.

When Daniel returned home to Virginia, Karen signed Daniel up for a music therapy program called “A Place to Be,” and the rest is history. As Daniel explains, “Through this program, I have rediscovered my immense love and passion for music and performing. Being able to perform and share my personal story in front of thousands of young people in schools across the county has truly been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. To be able to use what I went through to help inspire and touch other people who may be going through very different or even similar struggles is an honor and gift that is so very special to me.”

Today, Daniel is graduating from high school, working a part-time job, and continuing to make an impact on other’s lives as a part of his music therapy group. Right now, the group is featuring a production called “A Will to Survive,” which focuses on suicide prevention.

“Daniel and I are forever grateful to everyone here at Rogers for everything they did for Daniel and do for so many kids, teens, and adults who are dealing with mental health struggles,” says Karen. “I shudder to think where Daniel would be now if it had not been for Rogers and the amazing staff and treatment they provide.”

The program concluded with Daniel singing a song he wrote entitled, “This Journey of Mine.”