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WISS CD sales to buy wheelchair

INSPIRED by Bob Geldof's Live Aid concert, a grade-5 class at Western International School Shanghai (WISS) has found their own way to support charity with music.

Keeping it small and close to the heart, the students have composed one song called "Make a Dream Come True" to help the cousin of two of the students in the class. Thanks to kind local sponsors, the song has been made into CDs and proceeds from sales will help purchase a wheelchair for two-year-old Chloe O'Neill who has spinal muscular atrophy.

The CD sale next Monday kicks off a week of fund-raising at WISS to raise awareness and money to treat spinal muscular atrophy, a degenerative condition that shrinks and weakens the muscles.

The CD costs 40 yuan (US$5.86).

The week's activities include a crazy hair day, cookie sales and drama performances.

Organizers hope to raise at least 90,000 yuan for a wheelchair for Chloe.

Anne Drouet is the music teacher who started the project during one music lesson with students aged around 10 years old. Studying Live Aid as an example of music as an agent of change, the students were asked to come up with charity songs of their own. Each of the 17 students was asked to come up with an idea. Twins Sarah and Daniel Herten from Australia immediately thought of their cousin Chloe back home who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy.

"We watched a video of Chloe in the class for inspiration for the song," says Drouet. "It was very sad when we saw her trying to roll over, especially for me as I'm a mother. But she's strong. As well as her tears, we see her laughing and smiling."

Every student came up with one word to describe how they felt and in the end the class chose "hope" as the word that best described the essence of their song for Chloe, "Make a Dream Come True."

"The title is my favorite part," says Daniel Herten, Chloe's cousin. "Whoever listens will understand and try to help."

The twins see her twice a year when they return to Australia. "We try to spend as much time with her as we can and do fun things together," says Sarah Herten.

The CD is a community effort as local expat Michael Luevano sponsored the professional recording and CD production, and Drouet's husband designed the CD cover.

Only 300 CDs have been made but more can be produced to meet demand.

School librarian Fiona Collins helped Drouet organize the weeklong activities, including sales of merchandise donated by a spinal muscular atrophy charity. Proceeds from merchandise sales go to the charity, while all other donations go to Chloe.

The fund-raising drive ends on June 15, when the total collected will beannounced in a live Skype call with Chloe's family in Australia.

"I've been overwhelmed with the generosity of everyone involved. One kid in the school gave me a bag of coins because it was the entire contents of his piggy bank," says Drouet. "Another boy knocked on doors in his compound to collect money for us."

WISS is an International Baccalaureate school in Qingpu District.

To support the cause, contact Anne Drouet ( or Fiona Collins ( or phone 6976-6388.


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