Cassandra (Cassi) White was on an airplane when the words began to flow. White was a thousand miles away from Seattle Children’s, where she works as a pediatric cancer care nurse, when she began to piece together a song for the kids who never leave her heart – kids fighting cancer.
“The words came pouring out of me,” said White. “I started thinking about the kids that I see at work every day and the words just kept coming.”
White wanted others to see inside her world. She wanted to educate people about the struggles these courageous children face each day.
“A lot of people have a connection to cancer in someway,” said White. “The song gives a real look into that world. It provides a window of what these kids go through, and gives people something they can relate to.”
A glimpse into their world
From walking the halls of Seattle Children’s, to receiving a lifechanging diagnosis, White paints a poetic picture of what a child’s journey may look like through her lyrics, which begin with:
As I walk through these doors, I feel I know this place.
I get a shiver to my core and you can see it on my face.
My life gets different when I enter through those doors,
People using words that I never heard before,
They sit my family down, all the people who are closest.
Tell us that I have cancer, this is my diagnosis,
They give a prognosis, I get more testing done,
They keep me there until I’m stable and get seen by everyone.
Try to paint a life outside while your stuck up in a box,
I stopped keeping track of clocks and all the time that I had lost.
But it’s beautiful today and everyday their after,
Best thing for me right now is positivity and laughter.
I come back some days to have a quick chemo stay,
Wonder if it’s really safe what their putting in my veins.
There’s all types of fluids, different meds for my organs,
My fight has just begun, I consider these my war guns.
After White wrote the versus to the song, she approached Levi Ware, founder of the Melodic Caring Project, who came up with the song’s chorus and melody. With local artist, M-Deuce, assisting in the final verse of the song, it began to take shape. The song was then recorded and produced by Bubba Jones.
“Everyone who heard about the song wanted to do everything they could to contribute to it,” said White. “As soon as the artists knew the song was for children with cancer, everyone dropped everything they were doing to help. It was really inspiring.”
With a few famous faces by her side, including Wanz, who is known for his chorus in Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” the song came alive.
“Music has always been a part of every battle,” said Wanz. “If you think about it, every regiment in every army that America has ever had has always marched to a cadence. There is no reason this can’t be the cadence for children who are going through the things that they are going through. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”
“The War for the Cure”
White hopes the song will also inspire children currently battling cancer to share their own stories.
“You have to grow up very quickly in this world,” said White. “You learn about your body and what it looks like to have cancer. What it feels like to lose your hair and go through chemotherapy. I hope the song is something these kids can be proud of.”
White titled the song “The War for the Cure” because she’s optimistic that in the future there will be a cure for childhood cancer. She believes in that future so much that proceeds from the song will benefit Strong Against Cancer, a national philanthropic initiative with worldwide implications for potentially curing childhood cancers through immunotherapy treatments, and The Melodic Caring Project, which will help stream live music to many of these children in the hospital.
“We’ve come such a long way,” said White. “We’re entering the world of immunotherapy and the treatment has been so promising. My hope is that fundraising will contribute to those treatments and expand what they’ve already started.”
A message of hope
White ends the last verse of the song with a message of hope. It’s a message to cancer: there’s no way I’m going down.
I’ve been praying for this day and I can finally see the light,
And when we hear the word recovery my family starts to cry.
Tears in my eyes, lots of joy in my chest,
No long facing death, we put this cancer mess to rest.
I’m feeling so blessed I might finally get to leave,
But I’m going to miss the people that were all so good to me.
Without the doctor’s and the nurses don’t know where that I would be,
And I made a really special friend, he wears the number 3.
He came to see me once a week, he always gave me faith,
Like he does on the field, yeah he helped me win the game.
I wear a Seahawk’s jersey, no more hospital gown,
I got a message for you cancer, there’s no way I’m going down.
To download White’s song visit thewarforthecure.org.
If you are interested in supporting the advancement of this medical breakthrough, please visit Strong Against Cancer’s donation page.