Fisher Student Launches Radio Drive for Alzheimer’s Patients

October 2, 2017

St. John Fisher College student Diana Russo ’18 is teaming up with Jazz90.1 to provide a free personal radio to Alzheimer’s patients at two local memory care facilities.

After learning about music as a therapy method for patients, Diana Russo spent the past 14 years playing her flute for elders at homes across Rochester.

Through her initiative, Rochester’s Gift of Music, the media and communication major hopes to provide therapeutic relief and enhanced quality of life for patients at Crimson Ridge Gardens and St. John’s Nursing Home.

Russo initially became interested in supporting those with Alzheimer’s when her grandmother was diagnosed with the disease in 2000. After learning about music as a therapy method for patients, she spent the past 14 years playing her flute for elders at homes across Rochester. She has also made Alzheimer’s awareness her platform issue when competing in regional and local beauty pageants. To expand her efforts, Russo organized a radio drive at the jazz station.  

“Music is proven to help relieve the stress and agitation associated with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s,” she explained. “Allowing these individuals to have access to a soothing interactive experience in the comfort of their rooms will help limit the challenges they face on a daily basis. Ideally, I want every resident to have access to a radio in their room.”

Jazz90.1 station manager Rob Linton said that when Russo approached the station about hosting the drive, he instantly wanted to join the effort.

“The ability to provide music to people who truly appreciate it is what we do daily at Jazz90.1. Now, we can help bring this wonderful music to people who perhaps need it the most,” he said in a press release announcing the initiative.

Members of the Fisher community who would like to donate a radio to Rochester’s Gift of Music may drop off gently used AM/FM radios between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Jazz90.1 studios, located at 1139 Maiden Lane in Rochester. Radios will then be cleaned, serviced, and delivered to Crimson Ridge Gardens and St. John’s Nursing Home. Radios should be small (portable), in working condition, and powered by 110v.