How a music class is helping a toddler with cancer

CINCINNATI -- Lizzie McDaniel has spent a great deal of her two years on Earth sitting quietly. She was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the eye, when she was three months old, and her many trips to the doctor require a degree of patience and restraint that doesn't come naturally to any toddler.

That's why her mother, Sarah McDaniel, said Songs for Seeds is so terrific.

"This lets her let loose and enjoy life," McDaniel said. "She's gone through so much in her little life, so it's fun to see her grow and develop with music."

Songs for Seeds is a music-based class for people Lizzie's age -- those who can't read, write or perhaps even walk yet, but who can still appreciate music and learn about the world through play. One of the program's highlights is the way it prepares students to grow up in an increasingly multicultural society by exposing them to music and languages from other parts of the globe.

"The community in Cincinnati is extremely rich and diverse, and the world has become more connected," Luis Diaz, who runs the program, said. 

Diaz takes that commitment to connectedness, both locally and across the planet, seriously. Songs for Seeds will partner with Cookies for Kids' Cancer to host a bake sale and concert from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Kids First Sports Center on East Kemper Road. The sale will raise funds to help medical researchers create better, more effective treatments for children like Lizzie McDaniel in honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. 

"I myself have a special needs daughter," Diaz said. "We wanted to do something to give back to this community that's been very welcoming to us."

Anyone who purchases a cookie from the bake sale will be able to take their family to a Songs for Seeds concert, injecting some fun into their day -- and some hope into that of children like Lizzie.

You can learn more about Lizzie McDaniel and retinoblastoma at her Facebook page, Lizzie: Warrior Princess.

You can also sign up for the bake sale here.

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