SEATTLE — The Melodic Caring Project brings joy to the lives of hospitalized children by live-streaming performances directly to the child's hospital room or home care facility in partnerships with celebrities and the hospitals themselves.
We talked with Stephanie Ware, co-founder of the Melodic Caring Project, and discovered more about what this unique program does for kids battling cancer and other diseases.
"We have a network of over 200 hospitals all around the world," said Ware. "We try to make it as personal of an experience as possible for the kids, and make them feel really special. One of the ways that we're able to do that is by working directly with the artists and by giving the names of the kids to the artists during the show. Then they'll give them shout-outs, personally, and give them encouragement, and then the crowd will cheer for them."
"The number one response we hear from [the kids] and their parents is how special it makes them feel," Ware said, "They've even said it makes them want to fight even harder--it just lifts them up."
Ware said the program started when a friend of her husband's, an elementary school teacher, contacted her husband, a musician, regarding one of his students who had been diagnosed with leukemia.
"He really wanted to do something to lift her and her family up," said Ware. "They did a benefit concert for her. But unfortunately, the night of the show, she was quarantined at the hospital and unable to be at the show herself...my husband tapped into open WiFi and we streamed the show to her and her mom that night."
Ware said she believes the music to be a tool that helps break down barriers, "I think the kids feel isolated, and it's very soothing emotionally, behaviorally... there are definite musical healing properties."
In addition to the Melodic Caring Project's live streaming program, they also make in-hospital visits to children and families with a variety of different celebrities and musicians. Most recently, they facilitated a visit from the cast of the 5th Avenue Theatre's Annie at Mary Bridge Children's, sponsored by Premera Blue Cross.
"They're kids," said Ware. "They want to be kids, and they want to be treated as kids. So we try to do that and allow them to be part of the shows that they're missing out on, but just make it really fun and personal for them."
If you would like to help support the Melodic Caring Project's mission and bring joy and live music to the lives of children battling illness, or if you know any child who could benefit, you can sign up on their website.