Cancer survivor regains her voice thanks to singing with son-in-law

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Sunday, May 8, 2022
Cancer survivor regains her voice thanks to singing with son-in-law
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After surviving mouth cancer, 93-year-old Ruth Ferrara lost her voice. Her son-in-law helped her to speak (and sing) again!

MAYS LANDING, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "Music has the power to heal, to make you feel good," said George Roome. "It's from your heart and it's also from your soul."

Roome's singing partner is his 93-year-old mother-in-law, Ruth Ferrara.

The duo call themselves, "Decades," signifying their many years of separation. But their love for music is timeless.

Their passion for performing together at the kitchen table started when Ferrara lost her voice.

"About three and a half years ago, she had cancer in her mouth and had a major operation. About eight, nine hours she was under," said Roome. "And when she came out of it and all, she couldn't speak and it was a long, long road of recovery."

Ferrara received a successful surgery that used a bone from her leg to reconstruct her jaw. And after cancer took a backseat, she focused on learning to speak again.

"You couldn't get anything out of your mouth," she said. "And you kept saying, is it going to come back? Is it going to come back?"

After several months, Ferrara had only made minimal progress. That's when Roome reached for the guitar.

"I got the idea to start getting her to sing along with me, which would strengthen her voice," said Roome. "And it's worked pretty good because she's come a long way in three and a half years, vocally."

Today, Roome and his wife live just around the corner from Ferrara and enjoy spending time together singing and playing cards. Roome, who lost his mother a decade ago, has grown to see Ferrara as his own.

"She's now my mother figure," he said. "And we just get along so great."

But as much as Roome admires Ferrara, their love is a two-way street.

"My son-in-law is a great guy. They all should be like him," she said. "I'm blessed. You have no idea how blessed I am."

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