A couple of music therapists are helping bring smiles and relieve distress for children facing some of the worst days of their lives in Manitoba. 

Lacey Friesen and Cecilia Bellingham are music therapists at the Children's Hospital in Winnipeg. 

"I've always had this heart for joining music and helping others," says Friesen. "I stumbled across the career path of music therapy and I knew instantly that's what I want to do."

The music therapy program at the Children's Hospital is relatively new. When Bellingham started the journey, there wasn't an option in Manitoba, so she took some of her practicum in B.C. 

"I played violin growing up," says Bellingham. "Considering what I wanted to do after graduating I either could pursue music or I was interested in becoming a doctor. In my first year in the school of music I stumbled upon books on musical therapy. Once I flipped through them, I was like, this marries my interests."

A typical day for Friesen and Bellingham can include anything from a group music lesson to playing music for kids in pain. 

"When we walk into an environment, we notice, what is the mood like today," says Friesen. "When we enter the room, we might see a patient a little worked up, maybe they've had a dressing change or other procedure. When we can come in following that, and their heart rate will decrease within the first song to a state of relaxation and comfort. We love what we do."

Bellingham and Friesen get to hear from parents of sick children on the effects their therapy has on them.

"Sometimes we get feedback when families are there when we meet their child and do music for the first time, they say 'Thank you,' because that's the first time their child has smiled since they've been in the hospital," says Bellingham. "It's a privilege."