SYML Sheds Light On India’s Cancer Train With One Girl’s Journey Of Hope       

March 2, 2020 BY Nettwerk

In January, Seattle-based artist and producer SYML aka Brian Fennell shared his heartbreaking track, “Flags,” a song born from watching a loved one’s battle with Cancer.

Fennell says, “I started playing ‘Flags’ on tour to cope with the loss of my friend. It’s been therapeutic and gutting. It’s not uncommon for people to come up to me after each show and share stories about cancer. One of the stories that stuck with me was about a train in India. Patients who lacked access to treatment, due to expense or proximity, were taking an overnight ‘cancer train’ to a government-run hospital where they could receive treatment. I couldn’t get the story out of my head. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’d never thought about the global experience of cancer, how people living in poverty deal with it, and how their environment may increase their chances of getting it.

For the official video for “Flags,” Fennell wanted to create something that would help raise awareness and inspire action.  While performing in Amsterdam, Fennell connected with filmmaker Jorik Dozy from Studio Birthplace, known for creating music videos and short films with a goal of advocacy and awareness.  Fennell asked him if he’d be willing to go to India to capture the “cancer train.” Jorik eagerly agreed, and upon arriving met 10-year-old Sapna, along with her family.  The emotional video for “Flags” centers on her story, her Journey of Hope. 

Dozy says, “In his song ‘Flags,’ SYML sings: ‘I was born to rage, born to fight.’ Everyone who knows Sapna told us that she is a fighter, she will not give up, and this is something we witnessed many times during our journey with her. We hope that Sapna’s spirit can give people all over the world who are suffering from cancer the strength to keep fighting.

The filmmakers at Studio Birthplace were so moved by their experience in India, that they created a fund to help provide healthcare for cancer patients living below the poverty line in North-West India. In addition, the donations raised will fund education fees and expenses for Sapna & her siblings for many years to come. A portion of every “Flags” sale, stream and video will also be donated to this fund. We invite you to join us in assisting cancer patients by making a donation at:

SYML is currently on a North American tour with Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy. A list of remaining dates below.


3/2      Montreal, QC            Palace Des Arts

3/4      Washington, DC       The Anthem

3/5      New York City, NY     Radio City Music Hall

3/6      Wallingford, CT         The Dome At Toyota Presents Oakdale

3/8      Mckees Rock, PA      Roxian Theatre

3/10    Louisville, KY            Old Forester’s Paristown Hall

3/11    Detroit, MI                 The Fillmore Detroit

3/13    Grand Rapids, MI     20 Monroe Live

3/14    Cincinnati, OH          Taft Theatre

3/16    St. Louis, MO            The Pageant

3/17    Madison, WI              The Sylvee

3/18    Chicago, IL                Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom