Kraig Parker

Elvis impersonator spreads cheer among cancer patients

The words ‘that’s the wonder, the wonder of you’ echoed throughout the lobby of the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center.

They are words from a song that may be familiar to any Elvis Presley fan, but on this day, in this place, they had a very special meaning.

The song was one of two dozen Elvis songs sung before a crowd of patients and staff, to entertain and bring hope.

“Today there were people in attendance who had just received the devastating news that they have cancer, and they were applauding and cheering. It just gave encouragement and hope to have something like this come into their lives,” said Benny Barrett, coordinator of the Arts in Medicine Program at Baylor Sammons Cancer Center.

The music was performed by one of the most well-known Elvis impersonators in the country. Kraig Parker has been called the ultimate Elvis and has played before crowds from Las Vegas to London.

But even the King was humbled performing before this crowd.

“It’s gratifying, and it’s a pleasure to be able to bring joy to people who are going to through so much heartache and pain,” Parker said. “Thankfully, people love Elvis music. They are moved by it, and hopefully we brought some happiness to these folks today.”

“Explore."

The two hour performance was part of Baylor Sammons Cancer Center’s Healing Arts Performance Series, put on by the Virginia R. Cvetko Patient Education Center

The program provides free weekly entertainment for visitors and staff, including musicians, live bands and classical artists.

 “We are doing so much with modern medicine and when you combine that with the arts, we are able to promote a better healing environment,” Barrett added.

Parker did not disappoint, playing all the hits, from “Love Me Tender”, to “Jail House Rock”.

He even got the crowd dancing with his version of “A Little Less Conversation”.

 One woman was so taken by the performance, her mother could be heard reminding her not to miss the appointment with the doctor.

Musician Elton John once said, “Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.”

And it continues to work its magic at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, bringing happiness to those who need it most.

 

About the author

Craig Civale
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Craig is a storyteller at heart. He joined Baylor after a 15-year career as an award-winning broadcast journalist, most recently at WFAA-TV in Dallas as a reporter.

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Elvis impersonator spreads cheer among cancer patients