There are situations in life that you cannot prepare for. Having to tell your grade-school children that your cancer has come back is one of those situations. Christi Nelson already went through the treatment—chemo, hospitalization, mastectomy—then her oncologist dropped the bomb. He told her that the cancer was back less than six months after she had been declared breast cancer–free. Another round of chemotherapy was the only mode of treatment left.
Christi and her husband, Mike, had a family meeting with their sons Eddie and Archer. They had to tell them about the diagnosis. Their son Archer spoke up about his feelings toward the situation.
First, Archer became very quiet. Then he said, “I think cancer is stupid. You know why? Because Mom kicked its butt once, and it came back to get beat up again.”
Archer’s positive attitude helped Mike from thinking negatively about the situation. Like all parents, he does not want his child to worry.
Archer still had another surprise for his parents. Mike has been a DJ in the Bay Area for a long time, and he had been trying to teach Archer how to burn CDs. One day, when Mike walked into Archer’s room, he was told that something was wrong with the CD player.
Inside, Mike found a crumpled piece of paper cut in the shape of a CD. Written on the CD in Archer’s handwriting was “Boob Spelled Backwards Is Boob.”
Archer told his father that he had written a song for his mom, and he didn’t know how to make the song in his head an actual piece of music he could play. So he placed the paper CD into the player, hoping it would become the music in his head.
The words of Archer’s song was full of wisdom you only find in a child. One line goes, “Never forget the good things in life / Like candy, life, eating, having fun.”
Mike was moved by his son’s creativity, and he told some of his coworkers at KFOG radio station. His producer got Michael Franti of the band Spearhead to add music to Archer’s lyrics. They asked all the musicians that dropped by the station to contribute to the song. It was a project to make it like a “We Are the World” but for the breast cancer cause.
They got a very positive response from the artists that were asked to contribute.
Vance Joy, who has toured with Taylor Swift, spent an hour working on the song. The Grateful Dead heard about the project, and they wanted to be part of it. They were amazed that even established rock stars wanted to be part of the project.
After eight months of working on the song, they had audio and video of the artists performing Archer’s song. The contributors included Hozier, Noel Gallagher, and Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine.
Some celebrities like Imagine Dragons and Sarah Silverman posed for photos holding a sign with the hashtag for the campaign #BoobProject.
The footage was edited, and they created a star-studded music video. The proceeds from the single goes to breast cancer research.
The project has grown with proceeds from the song and donations given to the BoobProject.org. Mike and Christi are hoping to raise $100,000 or more for the benefit of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The song has had a positive change in Archer. He used to be shy and kept his emotions hidden, but he now knows it’s okay to show his emotional side and he’s become more compassionate.
Both parents say they cry if they hear the song. It has made Christi realize just how precious her relationship with her child is.
Christi’s second round of chemotherapy treatment has worked so far. At her three-month checkup, no tumors were detected.
Mike was in a Safeway grocery store doing some shopping when he heard the news, and he was so happy he started crying right then and there.
They are aware that for every happy ending like Christi’s, there are others who have dealt with tragedy and losing loved ones. He hopes that with continued research, there will be a cure for cancer.
Part of the message of the song is health awareness. You have to know your body and be aware of any changes. If something doesn’t seem right, get it checked right away because early diagnosis will give you the best prognosis.