|Dallasite Kristi Cawley is a business executive, not a professional musician. But a chance encounter on the job, combined with another lifelong avocation of music, led her to pen and record a haunting and lovely song now serving as a fund-raising vehicle for the fight against Alzheimer’s. Eight years after it was initially composed, “Did She Dance” has become a CD available on itunes with proceeds going to the national Alzheimer’s Association.
Kristi, a native of East Texas, grew up in a musical family and was constantly involved in performing and music ministries while growing up. After college, she pursued a career in sales and marketing, keeping music as an after-work passion.
In 2001, while visiting a long-term care facility in Georgia as part of her job, she was drawn to one of the residents – an older woman whose eyes lit up when Kristi came in. She reminded Kristi of her grandmother, who delighted the young child with stories and demonstrated how to dance the Charleston. However, when Kristi tried to talk with the woman, she realized that the woman suffered from Alzheimer’s and would be unable to share any memories or stories.
“Although I had observed this disease often through work and even had members of my own family experience this horrific diagnosis, at that moment the absolute loss that Alzheimer’s so mercilessly imparts became painfully clear,’ said Kristi. “While driving home, the words and music to ‘Did She Dance’ came to me.”
Today, Kristi is Vice President of Sales at Brookdale Senior Living, the nation’s largest owner and operator of senior living communities throughout the United States and a leading national provider of senior-related services, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Kristi played the song for coworkers, who encouraged her to play it at the company’s national sales meeting. There, Bill Sheriff, CEO of Brookdale, heard the song and became its champion. “This project wouldn’t have happened without Bill Sheriff and the great team at Brookdale,” said Kristi. "Bill made all of the arrangements for me to record the song in the fall of 2008 at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, which is a great studio on Music Row. The company’s designers even created the cover art. They have given me an incredible opportunity, and I want to share that to help people suffering from this cruel disease.” |
A Web site, http://www.didshedance.com/, was launched on March 1, 2009.
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