DMAN music therapy program expands to help more people living with severe disabilities

It's a life-changing program that gives people living with severe disabilities -- the opportunity to heal through the power of music. 

FOX 2 visited the studio with Torrance Johnson and his music therapist Matthew Bessette. They are at the DMAN Music Therapy Studio in Berkley - DMAN stands for Danny's Miracle Angel Network - inspired by the late Danny Kassab - founded by his brother Ziad.

"We said we want him to do everything as if the chair wasn't there - that's our goal," said Ziad Kassab.

Danny lived a full life despite being paralyzed when he was hit by a car at the age of seven, Now the DMAN Foundation aims to do that for others there - through music.

"It's making my dreams come true," said Christina Tilton.

Christina Tilton wants to sing.

"I was granted six months of free studio time - which is amazing," she said. "It's been my dream since I was 14 years old."

"One of my biggest things is being creative, and I just absolutely love making music," said Torrance Johnson.

With audio engineers and musicians and music therapists like Matthew Bessette.

"Help someone make music, help someone work on their fine motor skills playing the piano, help someone with their breath support, their physical needs," said Bessette. "There's so many things that you can do with music.

"I'm in awe of what happens and what's created here."

Allan Floyd has been with the studio since its start nearly 10 years ago.

"This is emotional therapy - it's vocational therapy," Floyd said. "We all have ways of healing through music."

And now - thanks to a $75,000 grant - even more people will have access to this music therapy.

"This grant we got from Oakland County is allowing us to help up to 20 new people - two hours a week for six months - plenty of time to make a record or two," said Kassab.

Anyone who is disabled can apply online - and the sessions can be held in person, or virtually, because many car crash survivors - no longer have transportation to the studio.

The need for these services - for access to these services - is even more important now that so many are dealing with the fallout from the auto insurance reform.

"That auto accident patient issue hits specifically close to home for me because of my brother," said Kassab. "And I see it every day with a lot of the folks who come here. I see the care that they used to have, and I see the care they have now."

People like Allan Floyd - who was paralyzed in a car accident in 2007 - when another driver slammed in to him.

"It could have been anybody - anytime - any city - any day - this time it was me," Floyd said.

And the no-fault reform has impacted his services.

"And I was supposed to be grandfathered in, they're trying to move me out of my apartment - they're saying it's too expensive," Floyd said.  "They have cut the services for my care by 50 percent."

It's why everyone there is calling on state lawmakers - to make things right.

"We need our legislators to act now and they have to have the courage to do what's right - and stand up for what is right - and fix this giant mistake they made," said Kassab.

Until then, there at the studio - they'll be waiting - and making music therapy - that helps heal in so many ways.

"They're not disabled when they're here - they're extra-abled and the things they do and the music they make is really special," Kassab said.

For more info: