Wednesday’s Warrior: Tom the pianist routinely visits Smilow Cancer Hospital to perform for patients

Wednesday's Warrior

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a passion worth living. Tom Ciancia of New Haven is a pianist of over 40 years.

“I always enjoyed entertaining and, you know, making people happy,” Ciancia said.

He volunteers his time and talents.

“It’s just become part of my life where every Monday I go to Smilow.”

Since 2014, he’s been making weekly visits to the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven to bring oncology patients a sense of calm.

COVID-19 brought on strict visitor restrictions at Yale, which brought Tom’s performances to a halt.

“When they canceled the volunteer program at the hospital, that’s when it hit me that this is really serious.”

But even a global pandemic couldn’t stop him from bringing music and its therapy to patients. He ended up submitting videos to be played in the patients’ rooms.

“I always say this, I do nice things solely for selfish reasons because it makes me feel good.” It’s a selfishness, you could say, we should all possess.

“I’m happy to do little things for nice people cause that’s what life is about,” Ciancia said.

To him, it’s a small act. But to others, it’s a big impact during their toughest moments, or sometimes, their last.

“On Wednesdays, I go to Hospice.” He also visits Connecticut hospice in Branford, playing ever-lasting tunes.

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