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NKU professor navigated cancer through music, inspires future teachers

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Posted at 6:46 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 21:24:49-04

When Brant Karrick was 9 years old, his musician parents put a trumpet in his hands, not knowing it would become his greatest weapon and love.

"It wasn't, 'Hey, do you want to be in the band? What do you want to play?'" he said. "It was, 'Here's your instrument,' when I was nine."

Karrick evolved into a composer, conductor and teacher, educating future music teachers at Northern Kentucky University. Then his health odyssey began.

Karrick was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and MDS and was forced into a new world of chemo and treatments.

Through the process he leaned on music to both comfort him and build him up, composing new pieces throughout his treatments.

"I think in general it makes me appreciative of what I have to offer," he said.

He ultimately received a bone marrow transplant at the Jewish Hospital and said he got through it with the help of his medical team, his wife and his music.

"We're fortunate to live in an age where science, technology and medicine have progressed to save people's lives and my life was saved for a reason," said Karrick.

Now he works to spread the "Be the Match" bone marrow donor message, while sharing his musical passions with the next generation of music teachers.

Being in the ensemble, having him constantly push me to do my best, that's made me successful here," said Patrick Medovich, one of Karrick's students.

Treatments to fight Karrick's cancers did affect his ability to pick up the old trumpet from his youth, but they haven't stopped him from conducting, playing piano, writing and teaching.