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Grand player piano in SBUMC outpatient cancer center

Grand player piano in SBUMC outpatient cancer center


 August 14, 2008 – When Stony Brook University Medical Center opened its state-of-the-art 65,000-square-


Patient Matthew Donnelly, 3, and his mother Jennifer, of Setauket, tickle the ivories of the Yamaha Conservatory Disklavier Grand Piano in the lobby of the Stony Brook University Center for Outpatient Services. Matthew undergoes outpatient treatment for ALL in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic located in the outpatient facility.

foot Center for Outpatient Services 18 months ago, the goal has been to continue to enhance the atmosphere inside the Center. The most recent enhancement is the addition of a conservatory quality player grand piano in the Center lobby.

“Now you walk into the building and the piano adds a touch of elegance. And it’s soothing,” explained Denise Reilly, building administrator. Frank and Camille’s, in collaboration with Yamaha, loaned the $45,000 Yamaha Conservatory Disklavier Grand Piano to Stony Brook University Medical Center, specifically for the Outpatient Center, where many pediatric and adult patients go for outpatient cancer treatment and physician visits.

“When the hospital contacted me last winter and told me they wanted to get a piano for the lobby of the Outpatient Center, I said that I’d do everything I could to make it happen,” said Camille Scheidemann. She worked with Yamaha to secure the grand piano loan, along with 60 CDs of all types of music, including children’s music. Every year, the building will receive a new piano, courtesy of Frank and Camille’s, and Yamaha.

According to Reilly, Stony Brook University Cancer Center staff members are constantly asking themselves and their patients, “How can we exceed expectations?” Reilly knows that the staff does everything possible to offer as comfortable experience as possible, especially for pediatric patients.

“We realized that attitude is so much a part of the recovery process,” she said. “We thought that the piano would help improve the ambiance and have a very positive effect. Yet we all wondered, what kind of impact the piano would have. Would people even notice it? Would they like it? Would it make a difference?”

They didn’t wait long for an answer. The day the piano arrived, Camille “came to check on it to make sure everything was okay,” she said. “There was this adorable three-year-old boy in the lobby, staring at the piano. To see the look on his face…” That three-year-old boy was Matthew Donnelly of Setauket, who is cared for in the Pediatric Unit of the Outpatient Cancer Center for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). He was diagnosed on December 11, 2007.

“My husband is a firefighter,” Matthew’s mom, Jennifer said. “We used to think that 9/11 was the worst day ever. Now for us, 12/11 is the worst day.”

But for Matthew, every day is fun, and the most fun of all is coming to the Cancer Center. “He asks me every day if we are going to the clinic and gets upset if we’re not going,” Jennifer said. “And the piano is a huge part of that. To you and me it is just a piano, but to Matthew…it’s so exciting. He loves to watch it and gets upset if it’s not turned on. He told me, ‘One day I’ll learn to play the piano like that.’ Everyone at the clinic, from the valet parkers to the people in the lobby, to the staff – everyone is so wonderful. They make everything fun for him. We’ve been going there for seven months now and they really put themselves out there. Matthew is the king when we go there.”

“It’s the compassion that helps our patients get through this,” Reilly said. “It takes special people to do that. We can build a special building – and we have – but it’s the people inside it that matter. And now we also have a beautiful piano for everyone to enjoy.”

Stony Brook University Cancer Center staff now also nominate three patients each month to receive free spa services, courtesy of Spa Exo’tique in Selden. The spa’s owner had called the Cancer Center one day and asked if she could donate one-and-a-half-hour spa packages to cancer patients 18 or older, or to parents of pediatric patients.

Camille is donating another piano to the hospital, this one for the newly renovated lobby, set to open on September 4 this year. She is also bestowing a Yamaha digital piano to the Pediatric Unit on the second level of the Cancer Center, so that the pediatric patients can put on headphones, follow the lighted keys, and play along with the music – all to help make the experience at the Cancer Center more personal.

Opened on March 23, 2007, the 65,000 square foot Center for Outpatient Services is located on the Medical Center campus, adjacent to the Ambulatory Surgery Center. The state-of-the art center offers a one-stop resource for patients seeking outpatient services that were previously located in multiple locations as well as within the Hospital. Designed for the comfort and convenience of patients and their families, services offered within the Center for Outpatient Services include The Imaging Center, The Center for Pain Management, and the Outpatient Cancer Center, which includes the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center, Medical Oncology, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Surgical Oncology. The new facility offers easy access, free parking and valet services, spacious and tranquil public areas, internet access and on-site food services.

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