Orchestral Qawwali Project at the Royal Albert Hall backs DKMS

Dance artists at sold-out show encourage more people of South Asian heritage to join stem cell register


“We know someone who needs a stem cell transplant and we really want to raise awareness in our community about joining the stem cell register; people are waiting too long to find a matching stem cell donor.” Vidya Patel, dance artist with Orchestral Qawwali Project.

The genre-defying Orchestral Qawwali Project brought Sufi music and Indian Classical Dance to London’s Royal Albert Hall in a special one-off show to mark the bank holiday weekend (27 May). The project organisers also generously welcomed DKMS to the venue to engage with concert-goers. Abi Sampa singer and Rushil Ranjan, composer and arranger of the Orchestral Qawwali project supported the cause with an announcement during the show informing audiences of the presence of DKMS at the venue and the importance of raising awareness within the south asian community. Dance artists gave up their time before the show and during the interval to help DKMS share information and answer questions about stem cell donation and joining the stem cell register.

Volunteers at DKMS event
DKMS Volunteer with guests at Qawwali community event

Centre stage: stem cell registration

The South Asian community is currently under-represented on the UK register, which means that if people of this heritage need a stem cell transplant, they face longer waits to find a donor if their immediate family are not compatible matches.

Dance artist Nandita Shankardass has been a driving force behind mobilising the Orchestral Qawwali Project’s profile to help raise awareness. She says: “It’s such a quick thing to do, to join the stem cell register – we want everyone to have all the information they need so they can make an informed choice.”

Meera and Jaina doing mouth swabs

Along with Nandita and Vidya, fellow dance artists Meera Patel and Jaina Modasia were kept busy before the show, starting conversations with their audience about what stem cell donation involves, and helping to challenge any misconceptions.

DKMS spokesperson Mahima Mathur says: “We’re really grateful to the Orchestral Qawwali Project for making us so welcome at the Royal Albert Hall. We are committed to ensuring that everyone, wherever they live, is able to find the stem cell match they need.”

Get involved

Whatever your heritage, you too can give hope to those in need of a stem cell transplant by joining the register online here. Together, we can overcome blood cancer.

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