years ago i was commissioned to write for and perform at the annual breast cancer symposium in san antonio, texas. after talking with the producers, i had gathered enough details to know that this symposium is a very big research event in which new research is both shared and celebrated, at which researchers and physicians from all over are honored. these folks are often the people in the foreground of new advances but the background as far as survivors and lay-people knowing who they are. it was from that place that i wrote this song.
a couple of years after that, lance armstrong was leading the tour of hope across the country. despite his more recent fall from grace, there were countless good people working on this tour of hope – bicyclists riding across the country with big rallies in various cities – to raise awareness for cancer and celebrate survivorship. i performed alongside my cherished friend and breast cancer survivor speaker heidi on an out-of-season gorgeous day in october in downtown chicago at the block 37 on state street park that is now a high-rise. lance was there and was laser-focused and passionate in his support of cancer survivors. at the time, i was honored to work with him and i credit that day with meeting my dear friend scordskiii, his photographer, who brought many a laugh and hours of conversation during subsequent years when i really needed both.
this song is personal for me. the moffitt cancer center in tampa, florida used it as a thank-you in a hospital-wide video to the staff for their work. for me, their efforts included extending my poppo’s life 12 years beyond diagnosis. i was proud and honored for this song to be featured.
in the last two decades, heidi and i have performed all over the country at innumerable oncology events together (walks, runs, survivor celebrations, conferences, hospitals, cancer centers, churches, memorials): she, speaking from a survivor’s viewpoint; me, performing songs i have written to resonate with these events. each event has been a shining light for us.
as i listened to this song YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE the other day, i realized, once again, that this is not a song dedicated to one effort, to one fight. it is a song that is dedicated to any effort in which people gather together in community to fight against darkness, whatever that darkness might be. it’s for the people in the foreground, on the front line. and it’s for the people in the background, not looking for any credit whatsoever, just looking for change…good change. it’s for all the people we don’t know who walk, strike, write, argue, research, march, petition, and present clear options to the light.
this week i would dedicate this song to those young students who have risen up from the pitch-darkness shooting at marjory stoneman douglas high school in florida. to have a voice. to bring light. we are all proud of you. you make a difference.
you make a difference ©️ 2003 kerri sherwood