By Sheila Jones
Recently I was invited to speak to a group of cancer survivors about the healing power of music. As I considered what I would say to them… I reflected back on the last three years and launching Team Martina.
The ground breaking song “Independence Day” made a huge impact on the world and the career of country music artist Martina McBride. Since it’s release in 1994, this song has become an anthem of empowerment against domestic violence… spurring it’s own movement helping women.
Frankly… it changed the world.
It made a difference for millions of hurting people.
A few years ago, Martina released another song that would chart a similar course. The music video for, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” debuted three years ago this month starring cancer survivors explaining how the love of those around them got them through cancer and their darkest days.
The idea was so beautiful and simple… yet ground breaking… again.
Because of “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”, thousands of country music fans and Martina McBride fans have been inspired to do something.
But we didn’t just do something… we did something big!
We rallied. And Martina rallied with us.
We came together from all around the nation giving our time and money to make a difference … to support cancer patients and survivors and to raise money for cancer research.
In the first 14 months after “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” was released, Martina and her fans came together to raise almost $65,000 to help cancer causes… first helping the American Cancer Society and then starting a cancer research grant in Martina’s name at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
And within the first year, hundreds of Martina’s fan club members began dropping in at hospitals around the country to… “love cancer patients through it”… visiting them as they waited through long chemo treatments and bringing them gifts and donations.
The word spread and it multiplied.
We called it “Team Martina”.
And so it goes… one song inspired thousands of people to reach out to thousands of other people…strangers helping strangers .. in kindness and in love and in person.
In today’s busy world, it’s not a very likely scenario - that people will drop what they are doing, because of a song, and change their lives.
But it became a magical reality for Martina McBride and her fans.
And incredibly… it didn’t stop there. It was just getting started.
We discovered that “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” answered an unanswered question. It met an unmet need.
There were thousands of people and causes… and we could love them through it… whatever IT was… homelessness, poverty, disease.
Even when you don’t have money to give, you have love to give.
We discovered what an incredible impact we could all make on the world by doing this. And so the impact of “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” has far surpassed only helping cancer causes.
Now Team Martina is following Martina McBride on the road on her “Everlasting" tour. We regularly show up at hospitals, food banks and homeless shelters around the nation ready to love and serve… and there are times that Martina is able to join us, amplifying our impact.
Hollywood star and music artist Kevin Bacon, along with his brother Michael, have started a similar charity ( SixDegrees.org) - dropping in to help good causes around the nation while out on tour and encouraging other celebrities to do the same.
Kevin even joined Martina and her team a couple of weeks ago at a children’s hospital in Nashville. They also visited families of sick children at several Ronald McDonald House locations on their tour.
The beat goes on…
Martina and her fans raised over $30,000 last year to help kids in Georgia get a playground and they raised over $30,000 again this year so kids at an orphanage in Gautemala could have music instruments and learn to play music.
Earlier Martina and her team of volunteers made a surprise visit to a teen homeless shelter in inner city Newark, NJ, surprising them with concert tickets and bringing all the kids back to the show that night.
And Team Martina was incredibly honored to give a women’s shelter in Montgomery, AL, a similar musical gift a few weeks ago.
They told us that several of the women and children in those shelters had never been able to attend a concert before in their lives. I can’t tell you what an incredible feeling that gives me to know that we could do that.
Martina and her fans have made over $225,000 worth of difference since we teamed up.
But there is so much love that could never be quantified.
Here we are on our third anniversary of the release of the song, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”… still loving them through it.
Team Martina was an unlikely scenario back then with a magical outcome today.
It’s the healing power of music.
Thank you to the fans and to Martina for believing in this magic and for making it come to life.
"Together we can do it"
Learn more at TeamMartina.com