Two Artists Team Up to Fight Cancer
Former Lost Trailers guitarist/singer Stokes Neilson and newcomer Corbette Jackson, both Georgia natives, have combined their talents to raise money and awareness about a hometown firefighter’s plight.
Chris Landreau, a 26-year-old firefighter and father of two young daughters who resides near Corbette’s hometown of Newnan, Ga., was recently diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. On Feb. 4, Chris went to the emergency room with what he thought was a blood pressure issue. He was told by doctors that he had a cancerous mass in his chest.
A call to Corbette from Chris’ sister got things started. According to Corbette:
I was on my way back from Atlanta and I got a text message from his sister, a friend I graduated high school with. She asked if I would do a benefit for her brother Chris. I talked to Stokes and he agreed. She told me about [Chris'] condition and mentioned that his doctor told him he had the "heart of a champion," to want to fight this disease at such an advanced stage.
Chris' determined attitude moved Corbette, while the doctor's words inspired a song. Corbette and buddy Stokes teamed up the next day to write the song, "Heart of a Champion." "It was so inspired, it's like we didn't even write it. It just flowed out," says Corbette. "We are the instruments of God in this song."
It certainly seems that way. Over the course of a few days, “Heart of a Champion” became the most-requested song in Atlanta. Stokes explains:
I handed the engineered mix tape to [country radio station WKHX-FM radio personality] Mike Macho on a Friday and by Tuesday it was the most requested song in Atlanta. I've been doing this for a long time. I had success with "Holler Back," but even that was never the No. 1-requested song in Atlanta, you know. I realized at that point that we had tapped into something deeper than anything we’d been involved with before. We got messages saying that this song was so inspirational for people.
“When God puts his hands on something, it’s incredible and we’re seeing that here,” says Corbette. “I think this song relates not only to the victims of cancer but the family and friends of those going through the cancer.”
The two have since put together a tour of more than 30 performance dates throughout Georgia, with all merchandise sales and ticket proceeds going to benefit Chris. The song is also available for purchase on iTunes, with all sales proceeds also going to benefit Chris' cause. The two hope to raise enough funds for Chris’ two daughters—Kaylee, 6, and Kinsley, 4—to attend college.
“Regardless of how things go for Chris, we want to make sure his girls are provided for,” says Stokes. “As country musicians, we are so blessed in so many ways, but when we are called to do something for one of our own, we do it.”
To learn more about the song and the Heart of a Champion Tour, visit Corbette Jackson’s website, corbettejackson.com.