Matthew Morrison plays a dedicated high school music teacher in FOX’s top five hit “Glee,” helping his students navigate the challenges of adolescence through song.
In real life, the Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor understands the true healing power of music—he is participating in “Play for Life,” an online auction to benefit cancer research at City of Hope and the institution’s music therapy program.
“Music is truly a powerful force and something that has always been a huge part of my life,” Morrison tells FOX411.com. “I am excited to be part of the Clear Channel and City of Hope 'Play for Life' program and to share my love of music and inspire cancer patients and their families.”
Morrison is offering Gleeks a chance to bid on two tickets plus an opportunity to mingle with “Mr. Schue” backstage during his world tour later this summer. His as-yet-untitled debut album is due out later this month.
City of Hope’s music therapy program helps patients with cancer and other serious illnesses reduce pain and physical discomfort, develop coping skills, enhance relaxation and promote positive thinking by singing, playing musical instruments and composing music.
“The music therapy program on our campus really allows people to utilize music to heal the mind and spirit while they’re going through treatment,” Steve Martin, associate vice-president of marketing, City of Hope, tells FOX411.com. “The treatment is pretty intense, so a couple of years ago, City of Hope launched an alternative medicine program, which treats the whole patient. There are yoga classes, pet therapy—anything that can make the spirit heal along with the body. The research is showing that taking those kind of steps can really accelerate the healing.”
“Numerous studies have shown the positive impact of music therapy on patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” adds Matt Loscalzo, administrative director of the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, City of Hope.
“The power that music holds to impact people emotionally, spiritually and physically never ceases to amaze me,” agrees Morrison.
But Morrison is not the only celebrity offering a “meet and greet” package for fans to bid on. Now through June 30, stars like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood are also auctioning “one-of-a-kind-experiences” on the “Play for Life” web site.
Other auctions include a guitar autographed by the members of Coldplay, a limited edition iPod touch engraved with an image of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and a copy of “The Doors” screenplay signed by Oliver Stone.
With so many charities competing for hard-earned dollars, the organizers of “Play for Life” remind music fans of the far-reaching impact of cancer.
“It affects everyone,” says Martin. “One in two men and one in three women are affected by cancer in their lifetime, so that means that everyone is going to know someone affected by cancer at some point in their life. We think that ‘Play for Life’ is a unique auction where the money raised is not just going to research—it’s also goes to a fun program that relates to treatment and helps makes people feel better.”