Purple Songs Can Fly: Making A Difference For Cancer Patients At Texas Children's Hospital

September 30, 2014


Christian Spear There is a story that I was once told about two children and a blue bird. The children set out to find this blue bird, which was a symbol for happiness in the story. Over the course of a year the children look in various parts of the world for this bird, only to find upon returning home that the bird was there waiting for them the entire time. These very principles of survival, discovery and full circle growth are the foundation for which I build my life on today. However, about 15 years ago, I had a much different story to tell. October 28th, 1996 marked both my 4th birthday and the day that I was diagnosed with leukemia. I find that there is no easy way to start my story other than the way it was given to me: suddenly and without warning. A sad and shocking discovery handed to me after a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. In a sense, this is where it all began. I was treated at Texas Children’s Cancer Center under the care of Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer from the age of 4 to 8 years old, when I went into remission. This was around the same time that I developed a passion for singing and songwriting. As I grew older, I knew that I wanted nothing more than to share my music with the world. At the age of 16, I took a leap of faith and auditioned for Season 9 of American Idol, in Dallas, Texas. After spending some time on the show and making it through the infamous ‘Hollywood Week’, I was sent home to Houston with some great experiences under my belt. At the time, I had no way of knowing that being sent home was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Upon returning home, I was invited to Texas Children’s Hospital to perform an original song that I had written about my experiences with cancer. This was the very day that I learned of Purple Songs Can Fly. Soon after I was introduced to Anita Kruse, the Founder and Executive Director of the organization, and we worked on our very first song together. After working together on a ‘Purple Song’, I was invited to perform my original songs at a few benefit shows for the organization. I was always amazed at the work Purple Songs Can Fly produces. Merging music and healing was something that makes a lot of sense to me even now, as both a musician and a 15-year cancer survivor. I wanted to be a part of the beautiful work that was being done. Little did I know, that even though I was leaving for college, I would get to work with Purple Songs again one day. When I started college at LSU, it was a very confusing time for me. I could imagine that anyone would be lost in a university comprised of nearly thirty-thousand students. At this time in my life, from freshman year to the end of my junior year, I found that I was not as happy as I could be. I had switched my majors multiple times, I had almost no time to devote to my true passion of writing songs and performing. I was working at a job that was severely unsatisfying and Houston seemed to grow farther and farther away everyday. As I neared the end of my junior year, I prayed one simple prayer. I did not ask for anything in particular, for I was unsure of what it was I truly needed. I asked God for guidance. I asked Him to continue to order my steps and I surrendered myself to His Will. I made a decision in that moment that wherever He would have me travel next was where I would go. Within a few days I received a call from Anita Kruse. There was a gift given to Purple Songs Can Fly that allowed for a Songwriting Fellow to be placed on the Purple Songs Can Fly staff for a year’s time. Ms. Anita was calling to offer that position to me. Although I was not set to graduate for another year, I knew in my heart that this opportunity would change my life and more importantly, the lives of many others. Within a month of being offered the songwriting fellowship, I had closed out the spring semester of my junior year, arranged to take online classes for the duration of time I would be living in Houston, packed up 3 years of my life into the back of my Honda, and was on my way home. It has been nearly four months since I have been in Houston working with Purple Songs Can Fly, and already I can feel a major shift in my life. I am doing the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted to: inspiring children and families with my music. What’s more is that I can speak to these families from both the heart and personal experience. They are facing the unthinkable right now and I can give them hope. I want nothing more than to inspire each child that I meet. They have already given me so much! I learn something new from these kids every single day. I've learned how to be a miracle, I've learned to say 'I love you' more, I've learned that you can never have too much fun, and that even though I am a mere piece of the puzzle, a smaller part of a bigger picture, I can make a difference in the lives of others. I can say that here at Texas Children’s Hospital with Purple Songs Can Fly, I have truly made it home. As it turns out, my blue bird was really purple. You can watch my song, No One Fights Alone, in the video below:

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