COLUMBUS: What had eluded Ceylon Wise for weeks came to him, suddenly, as he mowed the lawn.
Above the growl of the push mower at his Pataskala home, Wise heard in his head the bouncy beat and lyrics of the song he immediately knew that his church “praise team” would perform in May at the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure survivors’ celebration:
If you wanna know who I am / If you wanna know who we are / When life tries to bring us down / We’re the ones who stand up tall.
A few months after the race-day performance, the song, We Are Survivors, lives on as a fundraiser. Wise created CDs and made the song available through iTunes and Amazon.com, with some of the proceeds supporting cancer research.
He supports a different organization each month — in June, Komen Columbus; and this month, the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. Wise, 31, is the minister of praise and worship at Faith Ministries Church on the north side.
When church member Darlene Matthews was named the race’s honorary chairwoman, she asked his band to perform at the race. Wise searched his collection for an appropriate tune but found nothing suitable.
Then he mowed the lawn.
“Normally, … [songwriting] takes a little more effort, but this one just flowed,” he said. “That’s what told me it was a gift and that I should pay it forward by using it as a fundraiser.”
He was inspired in part by his mother-in-law, Margaret Brooks of Jackson, Tenn., who survived colon cancer 20 years ago and recently finished treatment for breast cancer.
Amazon.com and iTunes sell the download for 99 cents. They take about 30 cents of that, Wise said, and he donates half of the rest (about 35 cents a download).
Among the messages that Wise hopes to convey is that even those who can’t do much can do something.
“Some people may look at the grand scope of a problem compared to their own limited resources and feel that it’s pointless to even try,” he said. “But every drop in the bucket helps.”