Christian Spear puts on her headphones and closes her eyes as she stands next to a purple microphone. The former American Idol contestant is not on the stage performing in front of thousands, and she’s not competing in a television program anymore, but she is performing with all of the same passion. She is singing from the heart inside the Purple Songs Can Fly studio at Texas Children’s Cancer Center. It’s a song she wrote and composed along with Anita Kruse, founder and executive director of Purple Songs Can Fly. The program gives patients in the cancer center the chance to compose their own songs and Spear has signed on to be a songwriter for the year, helping children with their tunes.
“Coming back to Texas Children’s has been nothing short of a full-circle experience for me,” said Spear. “It is always so humbling to be amongst children and families who are enduring the very things I endured years ago.”
Spear is a 15 year cancer survivor. She received her treatment right here at this very hospital, and now she is proud to be here hoping to inspire each child she meets. Today, her personal experience and the kids’ battles have inspired the lyrics to her latest song, No One Fights Alone. The song is about uniting in the fight against cancer and it’s dedicated to children at Texas Children’s Cancer Center and beyond. It is in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. When she opens her mouth and the song lyrics spill out, the emotions are palpable.
“Cancer can’t steal away your joy or ever dim your light,” Spear sings with raw emotion. “Cancer can’t break your spirit or take away your will to fight.”
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She said having survived cancer inspires so many areas of her life, especially her songwriting.
“I was able to grow with a completely new outlook on life,” said Spear. “I try to find joy in everything around me and it’s inspired my songs to always have a message of hope.”
“Because Christian is a childhood cancer survivor herself, she embodies the spirit of hope, courage, resilience, creativity, connection and love that we all seek,” said Kruse.
Spear’s time at the hospital is spent with the children, and it’s clear she relates to them on a different level. Being a survivor gives her a special connection with those who are still fighting the disease. Her former physician, Dr. ZoAnn Dryer, is among her many fans.
“Stories like Christian’s are what help all of us get up in the morning with a smile on our faces and literally a song, usually hers, in our hearts,” said Dryer. “Christian is a blessing to all, and I am so very proud to introduce her to my patients undergoing therapy so they can truly begin to believe there is light at the end of the ‘cancer tunnel.’”
Spear recently sang her song at a ribbon-tying ceremony which brought together patients and staff to tie more than 600 gold ribbons, each signifying one patient diagnosed with cancer at the cancer center over the last year. Nationally, more than 15,000 children will be diagnosed in one year. The cancer center also provides supportive care to children with cancer in five African counties: Botswana, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania and Swaziland.
“Our patients serve as our inspiration to provide the best quality medical and psychosocial care, conduct state-of-the art research and train our future leaders in the field,” said Dr. David Poplack, chief of Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
The ribbons will be on display all month at the children’s playground on the first floor of Abercrombie Building. It’s a small reminder of the universal message that no one fights alone.
View photos from the event
“‘No One Fights Alone’ means whether I’m battling a disease, or just having a bad day, I will never be without the love and support of my friends and family,” said Spear. “That’s what I hope to leave each listener with, love and support to bring them joy.”