Craig Campbell Teams Up With Colorectal Cancer Survivor to Write Inspiring Song
As Fight Colorectal Cancer's national spokesperson, Craig Campbell is using his musical talents to raise awareness of colorectal cancer and funds for research -- and provide a little inspiration to those battling the disease. The country singer has recorded a new song, "Stronger Than That," specifically for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, co-written by a colorectal cancer survivor.
Campbell first met Rose Hausmann, a retired parole officer who was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer in 2005, at a Fight Colorectal Cancer event in New York City in March 2014.
"We were all staying at the same hotel, and we were downstairs at the lobby bar, got introduced to each other," Campbell recalls to The Boot, "and we hit it off really well, spent the next couple days together, and I just fell in love with her."
Colorectal cancer is the No. 2 leading case of cancer deaths in the U.S. One out of every 20 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer during their lifetime; it's estimated that 137,000 people will be diagnosed this year, while another 50,000 will die from it. So when Fight Colorectal Cancer was looking for a song to help support their work and spread hope, they turned to Campbell, who didn't have a tune that fit the bill already in his repertoire but offered to write one.
"I was thinking me and my wife could sit down and try to write it, but I started thinkin' about it, and I thought I really needed some good stuff to put into the song, and I said, 'I need somebody that has firsthand, on-the-ground, in-the-trench experience with it,'" Campbell says. "So I thought of Rose and how much she'd had to deal with, the positivity that she has about what she'd been through. I couldn't think of anybody better to talk to."
Not that Campbell doesn't have some experience with colorectal cancer himself. As an 11-year-old, he lost his father to the disease; Campbell's dad was 36 when he died.
"When he passed away, I didn't really know what was going on. They didn't really tell me much about it, very secretive, but the older I got, it was like, 'What did he have?' 'How did he die?' 'When did he get it?' When was he diagnosed?'" Campbell recalls. "And then when I got married and started thinking I was going to have a family of my own, I really started to say, 'Well, let's think about this: My dad wasn't around because of that disease; how can I circumvent this disease in my life so that my kids have a father longer than I had a father?"
Still, Hausmann was the woman Campbell needed to help make the song really powerful. So, she flew to Nashville with her husband Eric and spent a day at Campbell's house, along with Campbell's wife Mindy and another friend, writing "Stronger Than That."
"When Rose got there, she was super-excited, but she'd never written a song before. She wasn't very familiar with the process," Campbell says. "Her lyrics were very cadence oriented, like rap music would be, so I was having to take what she was saying to me and ... say the same thing like it would be said in a country song."
While "Stronger Than That" was written specifically about fighting colorectal cancer, Campbell hopes that its message speaks to anyone going through a rough patch.
"I wanted it to be a song of inspiration and help people get over or get past a certain point in their life, let them know that there was people around them that could help ... that's the reason we have the people we have around us," he explains. "We just wanted it to have an all-encompassing message of hope."
To wrap up Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Campbell will host the 2015 One Million Strong event, featuring his third annual celebrity cornhole tournament and a concert, at Nashville's Centennial Park on March 29. This year's cornhole tournament participants include Jerrod Niemann, Charlie Worsham and LoCash -- but Campbell thinks his odds of winning are good.
"I won the first year, and then the second year, I got beat twice by [former Tennessee Titans football player] Rob Bironas [who passed away in September 2014] and his partner," says Campbell, "so I'm gonna put all my money on myself this year again."
Visit FightCRC.org to find out how to purchase "Stronger Than That;" all proceeds from the song will go to Fight Colorectal Cancer. Fans can also get involved in raising awareness and funds by posting a "Strong Arm Selfie" on social media.