BUDAPEST (Reuters) – A Hungarian doctor prescribed lung cancer patients a new form of physical and spiritual therapy – singing in public as part of a chorus.
The choir "Breathing for the Soul", which was formed this spring, gave its second performance on Thursday in the ballroom of a hotel in Budapest.
Its members, many seriously ill with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and extracted from hospitals across Hungary, say how much the quality of their lives has improved.
"I never thought of my life that I would ever sing", Maria Aranyi, 74, who suffered from severe asthma for a decade.
"After the gray days, there is a place where I feel good … after singing I noticed that I could also breathe more easily."
Many patients with pulmonary disease inhibit their everyday life and become more and more isolated. Singing in a choir brought new friends.
Dr. Katalin Vardi came up with the idea of forming the choir after finding out that similar patients in other countries would find the beneficial singing.
She said that introducing concerts gave a new sense of purpose to people who have to face the thought that their symptoms may worsen as the disease progresses.
"We take the bets for them, to change their own image," said Vardi.
"With this community … they can show their talent to the world and the fact that they work together for it, it is a very positive feeling for them."
The songs were chosen to show the abilities of the patients by the director Gyorgy Philipp, who said that the concert was a great challenge for people who had never been on stage.
"We select songs that make it possible for patients to be able to make longer lines, more difficult melodies and which can be developed through that system," he said.
(Reports by Krisztina Fenyo and Krisztina Than; edition of John Stonestreet)