Singer-Songwriter Duo Go on a Journey To Sing About a Journey
A Challenge Walk participant gave Jeannie Felton two gifts.
First, he walked 50 miles to bring money and awareness to the MS movement.
Then, when she thanked him, he gave her a phrase that became a lyric, inspiring thousands in the movement.
"I'd walk a million miles for you," is what he said. Jeannie and her daughter Melody, both musicians, tinkered with it for a year and a half, and wrote the song "Million Miles." They performed it to great acclaim at the 2008 National Conference in Chicago.
Accepting the invitation to come to Chicago was easy; making the trip from their home in Massachusetts wasn't. Jeannie uses a wheelchair and had not flown since being diagnosed with primary-progressive MS in 2001. But 30 years ago she promised God to use her music to inspire others. Making the journey was a way of making good on that promise. "The flight was exciting but also difficult," Jeannie said. "But it was worth it and I am no longer afraid to travel by air."
Melody, a college student aiming toward medical school, joined her mother on stage. They unveiled a new arrangement of the song, complete with a pre-recorded third voice and a saxophone line. The response was the same as they got back home, only bigger: a standing ovation and lots of smiling-through-the-tears.
"I enjoy music more than ever. It's the process of making it and performing it that's so much more difficult because of MS symptoms," she said.
"But I'm not willing to stop yet. Music is my passion."
Interviewer Danielle English is a graduate student at the University of Denver and volunteers for the Society's Marketing and Development Department. She was diagnosed with MS in 2002.