“Music offered me a cathartic way to express my feelings and get past terror and negativity."

In 2001, three men entered Jeremy Deliotte’s New York apartment. After a 22-hour ordeal, they assaulted him, set him on fire and left him to die. But he survived. With both arms so badly injured that they had to be amputated, Jeremy started the long road to recovery. Along with physical therapy, psychotherapy and medical treatment, Jeremy received music therapy, which has helped him realize his strengths and his options for the future.

When Jeremy arrived at Beth Abraham Health Services to join the music therapy program, he began to write songs about his new life – how things were different, how people treated him now, how his priorities changed, and how he realized that, despite what happened to him, life could still be good. By playing and listening to his own songs again and again, he was able to tap into wellsprings of inner strength to help him move on through his difficult recovery. Music is central to his new life in that it connects him with that part of himself that is expressive, accomplished, and hopeful.

Jeremy is a powerful presence and a positive, expressive individual. Though music does not provide all the answers, it has given him a way of tapping into his inner self and “touching” people in a different way. In his extraordinary journey, Jeremy has learned to see the beauty in his everyday encounters with strife, success, relationships, and even pain.

“Music offered me a cathartic way to express my feelings and get past terror and negativity. It helped me see that everything I went through was all right and that I was all right. Despite what happened, I am not ruined today.”

Jeremy now lives at home and is the first in his family to attain a college degree, in Media Technology and Media Studies. Other Side, a short film project which Jeremy wrote, produced and directed, received the Mayor’s award at the 18th Annual Bronx Community Film Festival. Jeremy also volunteers at the IMNF as a peer group leader as he continues to build up his function and skills.

This is a new chapter in his journey. “I’m kind of feeling like I’ve been cowering, and now I want to share my experiences with others. I want people to know you have within you the strength to overcome, if you’ve survived. Then your mission is to live your life the best you can.”

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