Students help US charity to bring live music to seriously ill children

MCPUK launch

Nine children and young people with serious illnesses were named as rockSTARS on Saturday night by local band The Sherlocks as they streamed their sell-out gig from the O2 Academy in Sheffield as part of US based charity, Melodic Caring Project’s inaugural UK show working in partnership with staff and students from Chesterfield College.

Patients being cared for in Sheffield Children’s Hospital or recovering at home were amongst the first to experience live music and personal messages of support streamed directly to their bed by Melodic Caring Project.

 The Seattle-based not for profit organisation has been bringing the healing power of music to children undergoing extreme medical treatments such as chemotherapy, directly to their hospital beds, as well as their families and caregivers, for almost a decade. The partnership with Chesterfield College has allowed the organisation to kick-start its expansion into the United Kingdom and the college students will lead the UK branch of Melodic Caring Project as it develops to bring more live performances to patients in the future.

Media and Childhood Studies students from the college worked with Melodic Caring Project, The Sherlocks and Sheffield Children’s Hospital to film and stream the concert and to help the children and teenagers being cared for at the specialist hospital to access and take part in the experience. The Sherlocks delivered personalised messages during their performance to encourage patients to keep battling their illnesses, stay positive and know they’re not alone.

Melodic Caring Project co-founder Levi Ware said:

“The impact of music on a sick child is truly profound. When an artist gives a shout-out to a kid by name, it’s amazing to see how they light up.  And they often tell us a show streamed directly to them not only brings them joy, but actually can help alleviate the pain and struggle of their condition or treatment. We are thrilled to be working with Chesterfield College and its students. Their unique skills, talents and relationships will enable us to reach far more children than we ever could on our own.”  

A spokesperson from Sheffield Children's said: "Being in hospital is never a young person's first choice, but we try to do as much as possible to provide entertainment and distraction. It's great to be able to add to what we already do for patients by giving them the chance to experience the gig live at their bedside."

One of the rockSTARS of the night, 6 year old Erin from Chester, who watched The Sherlocks from home, first experienced the Melodic Caring Project service when she was in hospital in Seattle undergoing ground breaking treatment for leukaemia at the end of last year. Her mum Sarah Cross explained:

"Having the gig streamed live into our room was such a magical experience. It totally relaxed Erin and she said the music was soothing and she loved the messages to the rockSTARS and loved the fact that there were other children from the hospital listening too. Such an amazing thing!”

The Sherlocks front man, Kiaran Crooks said:

"This is an amazing thing to be a part of! It’s really incredible that it has been made possible to happen and we are very proud and honoured to be doing this. Thank you to the Melodic Caring Project for the opportunity."

The unique partnership with Chesterfield College will allow the charity to establish their services across Europe using the skills of the staff and students to broadcast to and make connections with young patients in hospitals at the same time as giving students the opportunity to develop their work experience on an exciting and meaningful project.

Work to establish links with other hospitals and hospices has begun and discussions with performance artists are underway.  

MCPUK launch - Faith and mum Nikki

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