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The Kent State University 20-Year Club will induct 33 new members later this month, during the annual service awards dinner and program on Thursday, May 26, in the Kent Student Center Ballroom.

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Kent State Student's Charity Reaches Teenagers Across the Country

Posted May 2, 2011 | Carrie Drummond

Kent State senior, Angie Persello, started Music Can Cure in honor of her grandmother's memory.

It's natural to feel sad when you have to leave a loved one overnight in a hospital. It's extraordinary to take that sadness and transform it into a charity that reaches people across the country.

For Kent State senior Angie Persello, the extraordinary is second nature.

After her grandmother became ill in the summer of 2009, Persello decided she wanted to do something to honor her grandmother's memory and help others during hospital visits. That idea became Music Can Cure, a charity that distributes donated CDs to teenagers in hospitals.

"I could vividly remember the bad feelings I got when leaving my grandmother alone in the hospital, and I thought about how there were millions of other people lying in hospitals each day," Persello says.

That's when Persello decided that she would want music to help her get through a hospital stay if she was ill.

"I think music is a powerful thing and has the ability to completely change someone's mood," Persello says.

Initially, her goal was to collect 150 CDs in the one year. She has now collected more than 7,000 CDs in less than two years.

"It feels amazing that my little idea has grown so much," Persello says. "I had no idea it would get so big. It was overwhelming at first."

In addition to individual donations, Persello has reached out to record companies, music magazines and radio stations. The Alternative Press magazine and singer Adam Lambert's fan club have continued to donate on a regular basis.

Persello has also noticed an increase in donations since her story hit the local media a few weeks ago. She said monetary donations, which are used to pay for shipping the CDs, increased after her news coverage.

Donations were originally sent to the Cleveland Clinic before the charity grew enough to cover other hospitals in Northeast Ohio. Then Persello began mailing boxes to northeastern states and California.

"I love it when hospitals send me letters telling specifically where the CDS went," Persello says.

Her favorite story is from Chase Cancer Institute in Philadelphia. The hospital passed out the CDs to teenagers waiting for chemotherapy infusion.

When donations fill a new box of CDs, Persello ships them out. She's able to send donations throughout the year because of a constant flow of donations. Her weekends and holidays are filled with work for Music Can Cure.

In addition to the charity, Persello has to balance life as a student, employee and intern.

"It's been really hard to balance it this semester," Persello says. "It's my last semester of school, and I have a job and an internship."

She'll graduate in May with a fashion merchandising major and a business minor. She hopes to devote more time to Music Can Cure after graduation.

Her post-graduation goals for the charity include getting it registered as an official nonprofit organization, writing for grants and corporate donations and reaching out to more record companies and radio stations.

Throughout all of the work that goes into creating and sustaining her own charitable organization, Persello stays focused on why Music Can Cure was started —to help others.

"I love knowing that the donations help others going through a rough time," Persello says.

Donations can be sent to Music Can Cure, 2900 Slater Rd., Salem, OH 44460