Meet Tona Svoboda, our featured volunteer from Dallas!
Get to know our volunteers!
Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at UTSouthwestern
How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? LOL! That’s debatable! I believe I sought them out over 2 years ago!
Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician? Guide
What is your occupation outside of MOC? Professional Hair Designer/Hairloss Solutions
Do you have any hidden talents? My heart is connected to the mandolin. My husband was teaching me, before he passed.
I have continued with music studies. I play for myself…
sometimes with a few friends… sometimes with new friends… music calms my soul.
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? As I mentioned, my husband passed in January 2011. Oddly, I was the one diagnosed with Kidney cancer in February 2010. We both thought that was our big challenge, our major bump in the road. We thought we made it through all the obstacles thrown in our direction.
However, in October 2010 my husband had a major stroke. Our lives were ever changed. My Husband was the “musician” in the family. Playing music all of his life. He grew up in that San Francisco sound era, taking lessons from Jerry Garcia and experiencing all that rocks and rolls! When I met him I had no idea he was a musician. And although we worked together, raised our family together, dealt with life together…..music was always there in the background of our life.
During the times my husband was teaching me (music), I would record him playing. I did this because I wanted to continue lessons when he wasn’t available. This music became his eulogy.
After struggling with the stroke, unable to walk, talk, and eat….he managed through his therapy with Professional promises of recovery.
After exploratory surgery, my husband went into cardiac arrest and after 45 minutes to resuscitate him, he had no brain activity. After 5 days of no response, being picked and poked….I remembered that recorder with the music he played! I took it with me to the hospital with a hope and a prayer. As I played the music, he gently turned his head and opened his eyes and truly looked at me. Not knowing, at the time, if that was a “hello” or a ” goodbye” it was the “music” that gave me that moment.
With gratitude I continue to move forward. With purpose, I found Musicians On Call.
What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? Because of Musicians On Call’s musical content and the ability to stand strong while others are going through their challenges, to actually see the smiles and sometimes even hear the patients sing…it feeds my soul tremendously.
Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? Absolutely! With music being our universal language, joy comes from the smiles and appreciation patients give back, even at some of their most challenging moments!
What is your favorite #MOCmoment? When I witnessed an elderly woman who could barely move, sing along to “You Are My Sunshine”!