The cast arrived early, still-sleepy students and swimmers in Speedos, cancer survivors and cowboys, firefighters and purple-clad football fans.
Outside, a director cued the dancers. Lyrics to “Rise Up,” by Green River Ordinance, blared on speakers.
Few had ever seen a music video quite like this.
More than 2,500 people converged Saturday morning on the campus of Texas Christian University to create a video celebrating breast cancer survivors.
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The music video will debut Nov. 2 at the sold-out TCU-West Virginia game.
“This gives me goose pimples,” said Cordelia Fields, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. “Seeing all of these people come together for this cause takes my breath away.”
The music video was the brainchild of Ann Louden, the chancellor’s associate for strategic partnerships at TCU, who wanted to find a way to raise awareness of breast cancer.
For Louden, the issue is personal. She celebrated seven years as a survivor on Saturday.
“This is a labor of love,” said Louden, who is chairwoman of Frogs for the Cure, TCU’s 9-year-old collaboration with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “I do whatever I can for this cause, and I am so passionate about connecting TCU to this community.”
Louden recruited 1,500 TCU students and faculty, members of the university’s marching band and 16 athletic teams.
Lead roles went to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price; Bob Schieffer, TCU alum, cancer survivor and host of CBS’s Face the Nation; and Ava Pine, a TCU alum and singer with the New York Metropolitan Opera, among several others.
Santa Claus and TCU mascot SuperFrog also made appearances.
The show’s real stars, however, were about 80 breast cancer survivors in pink hats.
“Seeing this come together is incredible,” said Susan Spencer of Fort Worth, a breast cancer survivor, watching a rehearsal. “This is such a close community.”
Together, the crowd performed a choreographed dance routine, tossed around beach balls and waved hot pink banners, before releasing pink balloons into the air.
Fort Worth band Green River Ordinance sang “Rise Up,” which is about joining to overcome obstacles. Lead singer Josh Jenkins said each of the band members has been personally affected by breast cancer.
“Our song is universal, but it really fits with the fight against cancer,” Jenkins said. “We wanted to help bring to life this struggle.”
Additional partners included the Joan Katz Breast Center at Baylor All Saints Medical Center and the Moncrief Cancer Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Nick Utter, a TCU graduate and founder of Nutter Productions, donated video and editing services.
Price said she looked forward to seeing the final music video.
“This is such a devastating disease for families. I certainly hope in my lifetime, or at least my children’s lifetime, we will find a cure,” she said. “This video is going to be big.
“It will put Fort Worth and TCU on the map.”