By likemindblog


 This special story is about a young teenage girl with a severe handicap who has found joy through music and who is an inspiration to all who come in contact with her.   It’s a story of hope and praise to parents who care for these children.  It is a story to raise awareness in the minds of those in charge of schools,  special care units, teachers, and what have you,  who can make a difference with so simple a solution.  It’s a story that touches the heart and reminds us that its function is not just to pump blood in our bodies.   It is a story of what being human is really all about!

                          HAYLEY’S WALTZ!

hayley article pic

Not long ago while searching craigslist, I came across a job listing that for some reason unknown to me at the time, caught my attention.  It involved after school care for a 15 yr old handicapped girl.  Hayley came into our lives and hearts on August 10 2009.  Born at 25 weeks and 1.6 pounds she is diagnosed as nonverbal spastic quadriplegic.

My husband Rich and I have never worked with, or even known any severely disabled children.  Guided by our hearts and more than a little fear, it didn’t take long to figure out that Hayley has a lot to teach us if we were just willing to learn.   Rich is a jazz drummer, and it seemed natural that he do what he does best, so when Hayley arrived that first day, he got behind his drums and started playing to some Jazz he had downloaded on his computer.  The response from Hayley was quite unexpected, she laughed all the way down to her toes!  We decided to do a little experiment and placed a set of chimes next to her.  Words cannot express Hayleys pure joy when she managed,with great concentration, to run her hand across the chimes for the first time.   A musician was born, and so was Hayleys Story.

Several days ago Rich played Billie Jean for Hayley.  She didn’t budge, no chimes, her arms were glued tight to her sides.  She listened intently, wide eyed, with a smile on her face that told me she was really into the music.  I think she was dancing in her head!  We have all heard about the power of music, but to watch it unfold before your eyes is a magical experience.  Hayley loves to “dance” to the Macarena, listen quietly to The Rainbow Connection, she laughs until she is breathless when Rich hits the cowbell, Janet (Hayleys occupational therapist) plays the triangle and I attempt to be musical on the finger cymbal. When Rich plays her favourite Jazz tune called Continuum, Hayley becomes a musician, adding color to the music with the chimes. 

Hayley has a  mischievous side, I see it in her eyes and wonder what kind of trick she wants to play on me. Sometimes her eyes say “I love you,” and when it comes time to go home she has a teenage tantrum.  I am learning to read her eyes, and they speak volumes.  We have come so far, but still have a long way to go.

It isn’t just we humans who have been touched by Hayley! We have 3 Chihuahuas ranging from 8 to 10 yrs old.  They don’t like children, and I admit that I have not done the best job of socializing them.  All three dogs line up to greet Hayley when she arrives.  Sparky, stays by her side even when he gets jabbed with an elbow or accidentally socked in the belly.   Lulu makes sure that Hayleys face is clean, and Chloe brings Hayley her ratty thread bare baby. (an old catnip mouse).  What is it that dogs know that humans don’t??? 

Did I mention that Hayley loves shoes, the colors pink and purple, going to lunch with the girls, and wasabi?

So, what makes Hayley special?  It is her ability to make us forget her disability.  It is her ability to make us laugh, it is her eyes that speak to us in a way that words cannot.  It is her incredible Mother who has trusted us from the beginning with her precious child.  Ultimately it is the fact that we are better people because this young girl came into our lives when we least expected it, and showed us that there are no boundaries to love.

It is wonderful to watch when things unfold in exactly the right place and time.  Through generosity, and people with soft hearts Hayley has her own percussion section now, and has found her voice.  Our goal is to provide a voice through music for all the Hayley’s of the world.  A pretty daunting challenge for a small town Georgia couple.  Armed with the same amount of determination it takes for Hayley to play the chimes we are ready and willing to step up to the plate.  Imagine a world where all the Hayleys can not only listen to music, but create it for themselves.

Candy and Rich Franks.


Next week we will speak more about Hayley.  Please share this story with all.  And if you know people with influence in schools, care centres, institutions or any facility that care for children with severe handicaps, let your voice be heard.  

Here’s a wonderful poem that certainly fits the occasion!

Every Child
Has known God,
Not the God of names,
not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does anything weird,
But the God who only knows four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come dance with Me.”
Dance.   Hafi

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Filed in: ART • Friday, June 25th, 2010


Candy and Rich Franks are some of thee most generous, kindest, and loving folks you could ever meet. Their genuine care for Hayley has done miracles. Including inspiring me. 🙂 Love to Rich and Candy!
And Thank You, Michele Andree, for giving this unique colaboration of “healing through music” your time.

By Michele Andree Lemieux on June 28th, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Thank you Ingrid. I honestly believe that music, visual art and healing go hand in hand. I also want to mention here that this article has been shared on several other websites and hopefully many people will read the article and influence the right people in the right places! A special thanks to Candy and Rich Franks who are special people indeed.


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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours