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"My main objective is to really encourage musicians and musicians' fans to be a part of fund-raising for St. Jude's Hospital which is an amazing, amazing center," Sheryl says in an exclusive interview with The Boot. "This is a place that treats kids from all over the world and treats them for free. It's not only a treatment center but it's also a research center. If people haven't been there or haven't visited, they just feel like it's such a self-sustaining and self-sufficient place that doesn't need our help."
Through the program, Sheryl notes that her fellow musicians will be encouraged to use their high-profile status to implement such actions as asking concert attendees to make text-message donations at their shows. She also reveals that Ticketmaster is on board, with ticket-buyers to particular shows being given the option to donate by adding additional funds to their ticket purchase. Kings of Leon and Stone Temple Pilots have joined the Music Gives program, with other artists to be announced soon.
"While everyone understands that the economy is pretty taxing right now, the money that goes toward this incredible place I feel like will come back 100-fold," says the singer who has visited and performed at St. Jude's numerous times. "It's a miraculous place. Until you visit it's difficult to understand the magnitude of what this incredible center does. My role is to be a mouthpiece, a source of encouragement to musicians and fans to find new ways to be involved in the longevity of St. Jude's Hospital."
A cancer survivor, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, and the mother of two adopted children, four-year-old Wyatt and one-year-old Levi, Sheryl says the publicly funded St. Jude's is a source of comfort to both patients and their families during a difficult time.
"As a cancer survivor, I can attest to the fact that ... it's difficult to know when you've been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness what your protocol should be, which doctor you should go with, to navigate through the process of getting healthy," says the singer. "Imagine multiplying that to the nth degree, when it's your own child and the helplessness that you feel, to be able to walk into a facility that is all-encompassing, that has several places outside the realm of the hospital for families to stay, to stay intact, and has so many programs set up to take care of the other siblings, to make sure that the other siblings don't feel like they're overlooked when all of the attention is going to their sibling who's sick. There are also programs set up to make sure that the child who's going through treatment doesn't feel like there life has come to a screeching halt, and that they don't have friends anymore that they're not involved anymore. They create activities and they create an educational curriculum so that a child's life continues to thrive even though in some cases they're gravely ill and will be in and out of that facility for years."
The award-winning performer adds that sharing her own music with the young patients has not only been an uplifting experience for them, it has also been life-changing for her.
"You see a little bit of light or spark in their eyes when they're so tired and they're so ill and you know that it's the music that is giving them even the smallest amount of joy," she says. "It all of a sudden gives complete and total meaning to playing music. At the core, that's what it's all about is bringing joy, it's about empathy, it's about compassion, it's about all those experiences that we can't necessarily put an adjective to."
Sheryl also reveals to The Boot some details about her long-rumored country album, saying that it's finally "pretty close" to being recorded. "I'm going to go in October and start working," she says. "I'm writing original stuff. Brad Paisley has really invested some interest in what I'm doing. He's not only an amazing friend but someone I admire deeply. So we've been knocking around a couple ideas and have written what I feel like are a couple of great songs. We're going to start recording in October."
Sheryl Crow is on tour. See details of her upcoming shows here.
For more information about Music Gives and how to help St. Jude's, visit their official website.