How It Started

This is the letter I sent to Family Reach to get this all started...

The bigger picture… 

I attached a short and a long version. Please read the short version first so when you read the long version it makes sense as you read. Thank you :) 

Short version: 

My mom passed away when I was young to breast cancer. I started making music. Now Spotify allows me to support a charity at the front of my profile. I want to work with you guys. 

Long version: 

Hello Family Reach, 

My name is Cameron Ashford, I am 20 years old and heading into my junior year at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I doubt you have gotten an email like this before but let me explain. I was a first grader in the kitchen when my mom, Cari Ashford, and dad said, "Cam let’s have a seat we need to have a talk." I found out my mom had something called "cancer." I had no idea what this was at the time. I was told it was a disease so I figured everything would be fine after two weeks. Little did I know…I was wrong…. very wrong. My mom battled cancer for nearly three years, and during this time she went through hell, plain and simple. I have vivid flashbacks to the third grade where I would listen to my mom scream and cry on a baby  monitor. This was towards the end of her battle; despite this, she remained the best mom she possibly could. I thank her all the time for writing blogs my whole childhood so I can read back on it and look at her thoughts. It’s crazy to see how similar we are as I am getting older. With that being said, she was involved in my community and school all the time. She would volunteer and enjoy every day she had with me, and everyone else in her life. The community she built was the reason I was able to push through and continue without her, while knowing she is with me every day. I apologize for venting...Anyways, I say all this because I was extremely fortunate to have a strong community around my family. The whole time my mom was fighting cancer she had a community behind her that supported her, as well as my family. Every week a different family in my neighborhood would cook meals for us since my mom couldn’t and neither could any of the rest of us. In fact, that is true to this day…I eat out way too much. Aside from that, I had  multiple best friends who, 15 years later, I am still best friends with. Their families were, and still are my second families, as I would ride with them to various practices, clubs, and other activities. There are too many people I could mention but I say all this with a point. I honestly don’t know if I would be alive without the support system and financial freedom I had around me. According to breastcancer.org, “about 1 in 8 US women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.” My circumstance is not a 1/8 circumstance. Unfortunately, with breast cancer being so common, there are many families that end up being broken by the tragedy of breast cancer and are left financially devastated from treatment and recovery costs. This is not news to you all, it is why you have your foundation. I want to help make a change in this world and especially for these families who went through/are going through a similar situation I did. I don't mean for this to sound like a sad story. I have lived a very blessed fortunate life and have a great support system behind me. It’s just that I had to live through life with a whole different perspective. I was a little kid in the third grade with a 4-year-old brother and a 2-year-old sister when my mom passed away. When I got off the bus that day, I saw my dad on the patio. He asked me to go on a walk. Immediately, I knew something was off. I developed the ability to read body language from a young age. It is the reason I started running away screaming when my parents said “Cam take a seat” before they could tell me my mom will be going through her second cancer battle after relapsing. On this walk I got the expected news that my mom has passed away. I immediately started crying. However, when I got home, my first thought was to ask my dad, “what are we going to do?” He told me we are going to “get through it, and we will be okay”. That is where I developed the “get through it” mentality from…I went to school the next day. Wow I got sidetracked again.  Anyways, since I got to college I always felt off, I felt like I was just going with the motions and repeating a similar routine. Everything I’ve written, on top of being a young 19-year-old in college trying to find their way in the world, really took a toll on me mentally. But like I said, I would keep everything to myself and keep it moving. I am a huge fan of music. It pretty much is my healing and helped me keep moving. In fact, my playlist has 1,750 songs on it. Recently, this past sophomore year, I started thinking about the idea of making my own music because I wanted to make music that relates to me, and others may appreciate.  When I got home this summer, I started using my brother’s streaming equipment and made three songs “Cold world”, “I kno!”, and “Everything gon’ be alright”. Everything gon’ be alright  is the outro on my 8-song project that really stems from what I’ve been through and what my dad told me, “everything gon’ be alright”. After making those three songs I was door dashing to pay for mixing costs and the whole time I couldn’t stop listening to my songs. I made the songs for myself, but I thought to myself, “maybe I can do something with this”. I started showing my friends and they all liked the songs and vision, but it needed more work as I just hopped into making music. Long story short, I tapped into my thoughts and had a vision for 8 songs within a few weeks. Towards the end of the summer, Sunny, a producer from Greece, reached out to me, and I went back and forth with him until I finished my project “Young Life Saga”. After sending the project out to distribution, Spotify artists shows you the next steps. I was reading through it tonight and saw the opportunity to promote a charity on the front of my Spotify profile. This is when it all hit me. I realized I can make a difference right now. Any amount I can raise supporting this cause would mean the world to me. I immediately knew I needed to find a charity that is not corporation based and can make a quick impact on people now. With some research on google I found you guys and read your website. I believe we would work great together, and I would love to engage with you guys and do what I can to help with fundraising.  The Spotify feature allows me to promote a charity to receive payments. Aside from just fundraising however, I have looked into your mission, and I am curious about what more I could do with you guys besides just fundraising. I am currently studying biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and that is where I am based this fall.  

Thanks for reading and hope you reach out to me, 

Cameron Ashford