Leukemia patient gets 'Happy' thanks to hospital staff - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Leukemia patient gets 'Happy' thanks to hospital staff


A 10-year-old leukemia patient directed his own lip-sync version of Pharrell Williams' infectious hit Happy.

Dade Cannon has battled leukemia for nearly half his life. Like most children his age, he likes to stay active playing basketball and soccer, but his disease restricts what he can enjoy.

"It sucks," Dade said. "It's hard and you don't get to do the stuff that you were able to in a different time."

Dade's weakened immune system, routine four-hour trips to The University of Kansas Hospital and intense treatments keep him from joining sports teams, camping and countless other activities of youth.

His mother, Christy Huslig, noticed a change gradually coming over her son. He recently became withdrawn, depressed, and lethargic.

"Everything that he enjoyed in life just suddenly was taken from him," Huslig said.

The hospital staff noticed, too. They put their heads together to find a solution that would lift Dade's spirits and get him active again.

Dade had been working with a therapist named Lauren Anderson, who incorporates music and dance into many patients' recoveries.

She had made a video with Dade in the past and wanted to do something a little more complex. It took some coaxing, but she and Huslig convinced the boy to choreograph and direct the video.

Anderson said he was reluctant at first, but that he couldn't help but smile and groove with doctors, nurses, and hospital staff.

"He's just back to being a 10-year-old," Anderson said. "Which is really what a big part of my job is - just letting kids be kids no matter what life throws at them."

For once Dade was able to give his caretakers instructions, instead of being told what to do. For a boy battling a disease, it was a nice change.

"We all want to be in control," Huslig explained. "We all want our own power. And it just empowered him."

The music video put a smile on everyone's face, including Dade's. He came out of his funk by acting funky.

"I was just having a good time," he said. "It was fun. I just let it all out."

Click here to watch other videos using music therapy for pediatric patients at the University of Kansas Hospital.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.