“My story is strength. My story is pride. My story is never giving in to all the emptiness inside,” begins a song dedicated to the the thousands of people who pass through the halls of the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
The Edmonton hospital treats sick kids from across not only northern Alberta, but parts of western Canada. The annual Corus Radiothon is one of the biggest fundraisers for the facility.
The radiothon is two days of organized chaos in the middle of a busy hospital, where dozens of families open up to share their remarkable stories of how the Stollery has impacted their lives.
As the 20th annual fundraiser got underway Wednesday, Alberta country music artist Brett Kissel released his song My story is… to celebrate two decades of the powerful event.
Kissel credits CISN Country 103.9 morning host Chris Scheetz with the concept for the song. The idea: everyone who passes through the medical facility has their own “Stollery story.”
“I wanted this song to be about inspiration and hope and pride and strength,” Kissel said at the event in the lobby of the Stollery Children’s Hospital, which shares space with the University of Alberta Hospital.
WATCH: Country singer Brett Kissel explains how the idea behind his song “My story is…”
Kissel said he only wrote the song a few days ago, while he was in performing at the famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
“I sat down thinking about all the great songwriters and the tracks that they’ve written, and the power that they’ve had in their lyrics — trying to dig deep and find something very meaningful, for very meaningful place in Edmonton, and in Alberta – which is the Stollery Children’s Hospital.”
The singer collaborated with friend Dan Davidson on the song.
“The two of us, as young fathers with little kids — two little girls each — for us to to talk about this song and the meaningful lyrics that we put together, I just hope that people will listen to it with big ears and enjoy it for what it’s worth.”
The families who pass through the Stollery endure stress, uncertainty, and in some cases, heartbreak. Kissel knows his song won’t change that, but he does hope it provides just that: hope.
“Music can heal. It always has been, and always will be able to do that,” he said.
“I don’t think this song is going to make a giant difference or a giant impact. But if it makes a little impact and can help people going through the tough times, or understand that things will be okay — I would really hope that would be something that people will take away from this the song.”
More than $22 million has been raised for the Stollery because of the radiothon. Right now the hospital is raising money for a bottle warmer for use at the Stollery NICU at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, and a portable ultrasound for scoliosis patients.
The Radiothon airs on CISN Country 103.9, 630 CHED, and Global Edmonton.
WATCH: Patients and families share their Stollery stories with Kent Morrison on Wednesday, Jan. 16.