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Top traditional musicians join forces to play for student facing cancer


Beatson Cancer Charity is showcasing the remarkable new traditional musical composition, Fatma’s Waltz

A student who has battling cancer has inspired a heartwarming musical piece.

Beatson Cancer Charity is showcasing the remarkable new traditional musical composition, Fatma’s Waltz.

Award-winning Scottish Fiddle player, composer and teacher Adam Sutherland has written and arranged this incredibly uplifting piece of music for his student Fatma Neilson. 

Inspired by conversations about her much-valued time at Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre for her recent treatment, the student and the teacher have joined forces to create this fundraising appeal, in order to give something back.  

Fatma’s Waltz reveals the rich story of Fatma Neilson, a retired experienced NHS nurse, who is being treated for stage three endometrial cancer.  Originally from Glasgow, she worked and travelled through her nursing career across Scotland, England and Oman and has now retired and resides in Glengarry in the Highlands. Fatma has been so grateful for the support she’s received from the Beatson that she would like to help raise funds in support of its work.  

The aim is to try and raise at least £5,000 for the charity through sales of the recording and donations via Just Giving. #FatmasWaltzforBeatson will premiere on 17 December on BBC Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk. 

To bring his composition to life, Adam hand-picked 28 of the very best traditional musicians from Scotland, England and the USA. The recording and production of the composition took place entirely during Covid- 19 restrictions. Each artist’s audio and video contribution has been mixed together into a unique and uplifting audio performance inspired by Fatma’s story and with the aim of inspiring others to support the work of the Beatson.  

Inspired by Fatma, a keen student of music, the piece is a deeply powerful way to express gratitude and the need to ‘repay’ towards the care she has received. She said: “Each member of staff appeared friendly, professional and genuinely caring- it seemed ingrained in the culture.

“In the Beatson you feel that every life counts to them.  The staff understand that, no matter what the outcome, your experience during treatment is almost as important as the treatment itself.

“There is a culture of hope and positivity that makes treatment easier to face. You feel that you are in safe hands.

“I felt every possible thing that could be done for me was being done and that I was being given the best chance of having some quality time even if the eventual outcome was inevitable.” 

The influence and appreciation of Beatson Cancer Charity is prevalent in this track using the music of the Highlands and Islands. 

For all information on how to donate, enjoy the video and download the track, head to Adam’s website or the JustGiving page.  

Fatma said “Adam has composed such a beautiful piece and I hope it will make a significant difference to the Beatson in the way they have made a significant difference to my journey through my illness”. 

Composer and musician Adam Sutherland met Fatma through his School of Fiddle teaching programme. The composition began life as he sought to help lift her spirits while she was undergoing treatment.  Adam said: “I heard that she was poorly and felt like trying to do something that could perhaps lift her spirits, so I wrote her a tune.

"At the time, there were many fundraising music videos being made for the NHS, and I thought the idea of making a charity fundraiser might appeal to Fatma, as she had worked as a nurse. I’ve also been fond of donating to charities over the course of my professional life, so I very much liked this idea too. When I floated the plan to her, asking if there was any charity that she felt drawn to helping, she immediately settled on Beatson Cancer Charity.” 

All funds raised will help the charity towards continuing to provide their befriending service, as well as creating a sepsis awareness video, to ensure patients and nurses alike can identify sepsis at an early stage. 



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