A football player captures his cancer experience in an inspiring music video
Davion teams up with Children's Health music therapy to document his fight against acute myeloid leukemia
Davion is a high school student who enjoys spending time with family and friends. He loves sports, especially football, which he has played since he was 4 years old. As a junior, Davion played middle linebacker and was varsity captain. But a few months after the season ended, the talented athlete got unexpected news: He had cancer.
Coping with an unexpected diagnosis
In January 2018, Davion had minor surgery to remove a cyst. When Davion's wound did not heal properly, the simple procedure became a concern. Davion also felt fatigued and not like himself. Soon after, he suffered from a migraine headache, something he had never experienced before. Concerned about his pain and non-healing wound, Davion's mom, Letisha, took him to the emergency room at Children's Medical Center Dallas.
After a day full of tests, Davion and Letisha were sent to the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. There, pediatric oncologist Tamra Slone, M.D., shared the results: Davion had acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of cancer that affects bone marrow and blood.
Davion was admitted immediately and began chemotherapy soon thereafter. Due to risk of infection, he had to be kept in isolation during his treatments. Davion says it was all overwhelming.
"It hit me kind of hard," he says. "I can barely remember that first month in the hospital. It's a blur."
Music therapy inspires an idea
As Davion struggled to adjust to his treatments and life in the hospital, a special visitor surprised him. Children's Health℠ music therapist, Lisa Jones was on a mission to help. "Our goal with music therapy is to help patients cope with hospitalization, and that can look different for each patient."
Davion admits he was skeptical about music therapy at first; however, as he discussed everything he had been through with Lisa, an idea was born. They decided to create a music video to capture his cancer journey.
"I wanted a way to share my story and remember my time here," says Davion. "It starts with day one, when my mom and I were about to learn my diagnosis."
The video does not focus on his diagnosis, but rather on the special relationships that were formed along the way.
"I chose the song 'Count on Me' by Bruno Mars because it really fits how I feel about the team here," says Davion. "They genuinely care."
Creating the music video gave Davion a fun way to interact with the staff during his time at the hospital, and also provided a creative outlet to help him process his experience.
"Music provides a good container to be able to talk through some of the harder things," says Lisa. "The emotional connection you can feel with music and the whole creative process opens up a way to talk about a diagnosis and being in the hospital."
Davion hopes the music video encourages others going through similar situations and diagnoses. "I wanted to show them that there's a brighter side," he says. "There can be a lot of darkness, but there's a way to get through it."
In July 2018, Davion completed his last treatment and was able to go home. He still visits the Gill Center every week for lab work and checkups, and will continue to be monitored moving forward.
In the meantime, he is excited for his senior year of high school. While he may not be able to return to the football field, he's focusing on another goal. He is working towards his patient care technician certification – a program he started before his diagnosis, but is now even more meaningful to him. Davion hopes to return to Children's Health as an employee one day to help others the same way his care team helped him.
"The people here are like family," he says. "I'll never forget them."
The Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's Health is a world-class pediatric treatment center recognized nationally for exceptional clinical care, leadership in children's cancer research and academic excellence. Learn more about our programs and services.