Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 32° Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

People: Boy’s cancer fight inspires Rucker song

Darius Rucker performs in June during the CMA Fest at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. (Associated Press)
Darius Rucker performs in June during the CMA Fest at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. (Associated Press)
From Wire Reports

As their son battled childhood cancer, Augusta, Georgia, parents Turner and Tara Simkins kept their hearts set on limitless possibilities.

They faithfully prayed. Family, friends and strangers surrounded them with love. And their son, Brennan, never gave up hope.

Their story – one met with highs and lows – inspired a song recently recorded by country music singer Darius Rucker. The song – “Possibilities” – was released online this month as a holiday promotion for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The online video features Rucker singing, footage of the recording session and images from Brennan’s journey. The recording also includes St. Jude patients singing the chorus.

Brennan received three of his four bone marrow transplants at St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee. He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in January 2009 on the eve of his 7th birthday. Brennan, 12, has been in remission since February 2011.

A blog post by Brennan’s mother led his dad to write lyrics and music for the song with Joe Stevenson, a close family friend and music promoter.

After the song was recorded locally, it got a professional touch at a Nashville studio. The song had potential to go mainstream, they thought.

They tried pitching it to a few artists but it didn’t catch on until Turner Simkins met Rucker at the 2013 Guitar Pull, an annual country concert at James Brown Arena in Augusta. Rucker is a longtime supporter of St. Jude.

Rucker, a Grammy winner and former lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, recorded the song in Memphis. Simkins, Stevenson and their families attended the one-day session in July.

“It’s a lot like the version we sent him, but it definitely has Darius’ signature on it,” Simkins said.

Music helped comfort Brennan during his years of treatments. He had favorite albums, and his dad would often play guitar for him in the hospital.

At the beginning of the video, Rucker explains why he chose to record the song.

“Music is really good at giving people hope to think things are going to get better. That’s what this song is all about,” he said. “I think a lot of parents, when their kids get sick, hope is so hard to find. When I heard it, I was excited to do it.”

The birthday bunch

Actor Joseph Bologna is 80. Actor Russ Tamblyn is 80. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax is 79. Actor Jack Riley is 79. Folk singer Noel Paul Stookey is 77. Actor Fred Ward is 72. Singer-musician Michael Nesmith is 72. Singer Patti Smith is 68. Rock singer-musician Jeff Lynne is 67. TV personality Meredith Vieira is 61. Country singer Suzy Bogguss is 58. “Today” show co-host Matt Lauer is 57. Actress-comedian Tracey Ullman is 55. Golfer Tiger Woods is 39. Folk-rock singer-musician Wesley Schultz (The Lumineers) is 32. NBA player LeBron James is 30. Pop-rock singer Ellie Goulding is 28.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.