The 23 singers, all of whom have been affected by cancer, all sang pop superstar Sia’s The Greatest at various times throughout the year.
Some performed on stage, some in a studio, and some still in their hospital beds. These were then brought together into one powerful video by CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading support charity for young cancer patients. Two more young former patients helped to produce the finished video.
Helping young people
The charity’s Music Programme helps young people with the emotional impact of cancer by providing workshops and residential trips, where they can work on their performance and songwriting skills in groups and led by professionals.
The performance release launches the charity’s new month-long #Nofilter4cancer campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the hidden emotional and mental costs of cancer for young patients.
Conveying our message
Oladamola Babalola, who was diagnosed with cancer on his 21st birthday, performed a rap verse as part of the performance.
He said: “The song is really uplifting and it fits exactly the message of the charity and also the message that we want to convey through the music.”
Oladamola, from Manchester, was supported throughout his treatment by a CLIC Sargent social worker, who helped him with financial support. Despite treatment he was able to graduate from university with a degree and now runs a company which provides video production workshops for people with life-limiting and long-term conditions.
He added: “I had to think about the end of my life a lot more. I thought about what I wanted my life to count for. It’s made me want to take every day and do something that impacts people for good.”
A stronger person
Another singer on the video is Veronica Stanwell, who had recently graduated from university when she started feeling pain in her lower abdomen. What doctors thought at first was an ovarian cyst was actually a rare form of ovarian cancer.
Her diagnosis came right when she was looking to expand her career as an actress, and she struggled with the emotional impact.
She said: “The whole thing was a huge shock. It really struck my confidence at the time. But I look back now and I see that it moulded who I am. It has made me a stronger person.”
“I enjoyed every moment with the Music Programme and the virtual choir was really positive. There’s a great message with the song.”
Phil Day, Music Coordinator for CLIC Sargent, said: “The virtual choir was a fantastic and ambitious project and there is a real impact when you see all of these young people singing together, from all over the UK.
“We are constantly impressed by the skills and confidence of the young people that are supported by CLIC Sargent. This was a great way for them to perform together even though they couldn’t all be in the same place.
“Thank you to all those who fund CLIC Sargent’s Music Programme, including the National Foundation for Youth Music. We couldn’t have done this without your vital support.”
Throughout June, CLIC Sargent will launch its campaign, #Nofilter4cancer, telling stories, providing information and hosting the views of the young people it supports, around issues of the emotional impacts of cancer.
Kate Lee, Chief Executive at CLIC Sargent, said: “This month we are exposing the hidden costs of cancer and talk about what life really looks like for them. This campaign gives young people the power to explore body image and mental health issues and tell it how it is, unfiltered.”