Conn. Girl Learns To Play Ukulele While Undergoing Treatment At Children’s Hospital

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – “Christmas, favorite time of the year. Christmas, lots of holiday cheer.”

Chelsea Wheeler hits all the right notes on her ukulele, singing the words of a song she wrote herself. The 12-year-old girl learned to play after having a multi-organ transplant at Children’s Hospital in September. Music therapists Kory Antonacci and Nicole Steele helped her find new reason to get out of that hospital bed.

“Somebody had told me she would probably enjoy music therapy,” Antonacci said. “And when I walked in the door, it was kind of an instant click.”

“She came in and said, ‘What do you want to do?'” Wheeler said. “And I said, ‘Learn to play the ukulele.’ So, she got me a ukulele, and we started playing together.”

Chelsea’s mother, Linda Wheeler, says the Connecticut family researched hospitals nationwide – and a reputation for transplant success brought them to Pittsburgh.

“We’ve been here through Halloween, through Thanksgiving, we’ll be here for Christmas,” she said. “And it’s like another family.”

“Everyone’s really nice here,” said Chelsea. “All the nurses are really nice, They’re all my friends up on the floor. They make it better.”

And the song she wrote?

“I love Christmas, so I wrote down all the things I love about Christmas, and it kind of just came,” she said.

Chelsea expects to sing of many Christmases to come, thanks to her musical friends, and Children’s Hospital.

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