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Faculty researcher behind choir for children in need of kidney transplants

The Harmonies of Hope choir based in London gives a voice to children in need of kidney transplants, as well as their siblings.

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Harmonies of Hope was founded in 2018 by Pankaj Chandak, a Research Fellow in the School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences at King’s and a Transplant Surgeon at Guy’s and Evelina Children’s Hospital.

Supported by funding from BBC Children in Need, the choir gives young patients who have received or are waiting for an organ transplant something to look forward to in what is an understandably difficult time for the whole family. Through musical, social and educational opportunities, the choir provides a safe place for children and families to connect and reflect on their life changing experiences.

I set the choir up with the aim of combining music and science and medicine with real life stories of our young patients and their families - to give them a united voice that would inspire and create a feeling of goodwill and joy to help other families in similar situations.– Pankaj Chandak, Founder, Harmonies of Hope

Since its development, the choir has performed at iconic venues such as Westminster Abbey to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Evelina London, and has been featured on the BBC, as well as on BBC London Live News.

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In January of this year, the team decided to expand the choir to not only support paediatric patients of Evelina London in need of kidney transplants, but also those at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Being unable to meet in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Harmonies of Hope team decided to organise a virtual performance to continue the initiative.

The virtual performance is dedicated to the memory of the father of one of Evalina’s youngest members, who sadly passed away as a result of COVID-19, and includes not only patients, families and staff from Guy’s & St Thomas’ and Great Ormond Street Hospitals, but also other NHS and global healthcare services.

In April we invited members of the choir to take part in this virtual project, and with the help of our friends at Evelina and Great Ormond Street we recruited, families, patients and staff from across England and Hong Kong. It was special to make something that included people from all over the world and it shows how connected we all are, even in lockdown. We had a small but dedicated team of musicians and editors who volunteered their time to help us with the project; we are so happy with the result and really grateful to everyone who took part.– Emma Wright, Choir Manager, Harmonies of Hope