Connecting On Campus for A Cure

Students, faculty, and staff come together to raise awareness of breast cancer.

What happens when thou­sands of impassioned college students, faculty, staff, healthcare professionals, and breast cancer survivors team up with equally inspired top singers and songwriters dedicated to making a difference in the fight against breast cancer? In Fort Worth, Texas, on the campus of Texas Christian Univer­sity (TCU), you get musical magic in the form of music videos produced each year to honor and empower cancer survivors.

Since 2010, under the leadership of breast cancer survivor and member of the TCU chancellor’s executive team Ann Louden, TCU has collabo­rated with a volunteer staff of video and production experts to create videos highlighting songs that send a clear message of hope and power to those facing breast cancer. Part of TCU’s larger Frogs for the Cure pro­gram in support of the Greater Fort Worth Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the annual production of a music video shines a light on survivors and gives a voice to aware­ness efforts. “Linking music to the cause engages survivors, mobilizes the campus community, and em­powers those on the cancer journey to feel hope,” Ann says.

In 2014 the TCU Frogs for the Cure music video features interna­tionally known artist Josh Groban’s song “Brave,” an inspiring anthem that Groban says was written with the hope that it could “be a song of strength.” Shot at locations around the country and highlighting breast cancer survivors and supporters in Chicago, New York City, Los Ange­les, and Washington, DC, this year’s video is a nationwide celebration of survivors’ courage. This year the video will also serve as a fundraising tool, as viewers will have the option to donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure when they watch the video.

What’s clear in watching past years’ videos and in speaking with those involved with the effort on campus at TCU is its impact on awareness among students and the broader community. Liz Stallard, a political science major from Green­wich, Connecticut, knows firsthand the effects of breast cancer—her mother, grandmother, and aunt all have been affected. Liz volunteers her time to help with social media efforts related to the video and says, “The impact of Frogs for the Cure on students is truly inspiring.” Liz is dedicated to making a difference through her work with the event, recognizing the key role that stu­dents can play: “I’ve seen the positive influence my voice and actions can have. Frogs for the Cure gives me the opportunity to create change.”

TCU sophomore Ben Thompson has also been personally affected by breast cancer: he lost his mother to triple-negative breast cancer in his senior year in high school. Ben volun­teers with the video’s production and social media efforts and also shares his story with the community as a way to honor his mom, support sur­vivors and families, and raise aware­ness about the disease. “I was graced with a mom who was vulnerable in her struggle but was also strong and never downtrodden by her experi­ence—she taught me how to love and treat people right. Through Frogs for the Cure, I can carry on my mom’s legacy,” he says.

There is no doubt that students are excited by the production and the star power of the music video, but what shines through is the powerful personal connections that drive their commitment and the way this com­munity of young people is setting the stage for significant conversa­tions about breast cancer. To college students, cancer may seem a distant possibility for some, but coming to­gether around the issue provides im­portant opportunities for education and advocacy. “It can be a powerful thing we do together to support our families,” Ben says. “Our moms, our cousins, our sisters, our aunts may all face the disease; we will all be affected by cancer at some point if we haven’t been already.”

To learn more about Frogs for the Cure, celebrating 10 years this October, and to view past and present music videos, visit frogsforthecure.tcu.edu.