My wife and I have two daughters, the younger of which was diagnosed with a chronic, incurable kidney disease at the age of seven. Growing up, she wanted to join her older sister at dance groups and gymnastics, but the condition was causing a gradual and inevitable failure of both kidneys, with a typical prognosis of total kidney failure within seven years.
Both girls had been brought up in a household where music is a part of life and where a piano is regularly played. They were each encouraged to learn music from an early age and the physical constraints caused by the kidney disease led to our younger daughter developing her musical talents, going on to achieve Grade 8 piano by the age of thirteen.
With the most careful diet and superb monitoring and medical supervision at our local kidney clinic, she continued in reasonable health right through school and was into her last year at university when dialysis became necessary. Despite this, she obtained her degree and started work, returning home every lunch time to perform her dialysis routine, which needed to be completed four times a day.
Eighteen months later, some fortune arrived by way of a phone-call during the night to say that a kidney was available for transplant, and this ultimately proved to be a successful procedure. This transformed her life (and that of her family) even though it means a lifetime of taking drugs, regular hospital visits and a careful diet.
Ever grateful for this opportunity for her to get her life back, my wife and I became volunteers on a local fund-raising support group for Kidney Research UK. In the mean time, I had treated myself to a Yamaha Clavinova CVP209 digital piano, a truly fantastic instrument, and whenever our daughter visited us I would encourage her to play some of her classical repertoire, recording it to disk in order to make tapes for the family, purely for fun.
Using my home computer, this progressed into CD production, and whilst listening to my copy in the car one day, it struck me that we could sell a few to make money for the charity. I wrote to Yamaha in case they objected to some of the wording on the sleeve and we were simply astounded at the response. After listening to a copy, and following a meeting at their Milton Keynes offices they offered to help in producing and promoting a limited run of the CD free of charge.
Of course, I hope that this goes on to be a success and raise as much money as possible, and as Yamaha have been so generous with this initial launch, it means that all the profits will go directly to the charity.
All monies go to our local Nottinghamshire Kidney Unitsí Appeal, which means that 50% is used to help local renal units and the other 50% to Kidney Research UK, to pursue research into the causes of debilitating kidney disease that affects thousands of people of all ages, races and religions in the UK.
A huge thank you to the Yamaha team for making it possible.