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Local patients heal with the power of music

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WINSTON SALEM, N.C. -- It's no surprise music moves you, stirs your soul. But study after study shows music doesn't just make you feel better, it can actually make you better. Researchers say music helps with pain, stress, depression, high blood pressure and boosts immunity.

Perhaps no one knows this better than Tom Deaton. You can almost always find him and his guitar at Forsyth Medical Center. He starts playing for patients on the ninth floor and works his way down to the chemo room on the first floor. Deaton began volunteering at the hospital after he lost his job when company got bought out. He says he was at rock bottom and decided the best way to help himself was to help somebody else.

"It was like a match made in heaven, I love it," says Deaton. "I've sang for thousands of people before, but there isn't a feeling like this. I love this one on one. To have someone tell me I helped make their day better, well, you just can't beat that."

Deaton volunteers Monday through Friday, all day long. He sings it all, whatever the patient feels like hearing. "Country, gospel, blues, beach music and rock n roll. These patients aren't just patients, I consider them my family. I'm glad to be able to make a difference for them because they make such a difference in mine. "

Chemotherapy patient Kristi Rolison has breast cancer and enjoys hearing the songs every Thursday as she goes through her treatments.

"It's just really beautiful. Music touches you in a way other forms of communication can't. He's amazing," Rolison said.

To reach Deaton, visit his website at www.ncblues.com.