Stronger Because They Have to Be

Chris Rumble

This incredibly moving three-minute video by leukemia patient Chris Rumble derives its power from its simplicity. On the surface, it is patients and nurses at the Seattle Children’s Hospital lip-syncing and dancing to Kelly Clarkson’s hit song, “Stronger.” Oh, but it is so much more than that. It speaks volumes about the hope, resiliency and strength of the human spirit.

According to this story on by JoNel Aleccia:

A 22-year-old leukemia patient with a talent for video has turned the fight against cancer into an online anthem celebrating strength — and recovery.

Chris Rumble of Kent, Wash., spent Saturday filming fellow patients, doctors and nurses on the hematology/oncology unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Dancing, singing and holding signs that read “Hope” and “Fighter,” they put together a moving makeshift video set to the tune “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson.

“It was kind of like a party,” said Rumble, who filmed the video during the day, stayed up late Saturday night and posted it on YouTube early Sunday.“It wasn’t a typical day at all.”

He was hoping to make a video to repay his teammates on the Wenatchee Wild hockey team, who had sent him a video when they learned of his illness. He appears in the video bald, singing and wearing an orange T-shirt.

Rumble spent 35 days on the pediatric and adolescent cancer ward because he was 21 when he was admitted, just on the line between adolescent and adult care. During his treatment, he says he became kind of big brother and role model to children coping with cancer.

“For me, personally, I try not to let anyone see my pain,” he said. “A lot of the kids are much younger and don’t understand what they’re going through.”

Simply making the video lifted the spirits of many of the children on the floor, said Brittany Skinner, 26, a pediatric hematology oncology nurse who is shown dancing and singing.

“It gave them something to shine through, I guess,” she said. “Like the song said, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’”

Rumble’s video surprised the public relations staff at the hospital, who woke up Sunday morning to a viral sensation. By early today, the video already had more than 64,000 hits.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Alyse Bernal, spokeswoman for Seattle Children’s. “It’s just taken off.”

Singer Kelly Clarkson got word of the Seattle Children’s video and tweeted her approval: “Oh my goodness y’all have to see this! It’s beautiful! I can’t wait to visit these kids and nurses!” read a post on her account @Kelly_Clarkson. It wasn’t immediately clear whether or if Clarkson actually plans to visit the hospital.

As for Rumble, he was back at the hospital this morning for an appointment. On Friday, he’ll learn whether his cancer is in remission.


Click here for links to all the music videos on this blog.

Click here to view all my posts about dealing courageously with cancer.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

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10 Responses to “Stronger Because They Have to Be”

  1. Cyn Says:

    Wonderful post, Philip, but hard to watch without tearing up!

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    *nods in agreement*

  3. Sharon Says:

    I have many photos of Chris from childhood – he spent a lot of his growing up years with us. He’s a remarkable person, even as a little guy, and comes from an amazing family.
    Hugs to him and all the patients – hope they ALL recover.

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    That’s nice to hear, Sharon. If you hear any updates about Chris’ condition, please let me know!

  5. Sharon Says:

    My son (now 33 himself) is the one talking to Chris (and Chris’s brother Brandon, and sister Alexa) regularly so I will be happy to let you know.
    Thanks for your wonderful write up – I found it accidentally this morning looking for something entirely unrelated!

  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    That’s great, Sharon! In fact, let me know if Chris would like to do a Skype video interview for my blog. It would be nice to have him give people an update!

  7. lena stella Says:

    I am working for a European health organization in Austria and have just watched Chris Rumble´s video “Stronger because they have to be” …its incredible, very touching and I hope he and all the other kids will recover soon!

  8. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You and me both, Lena!

  9. Shaorn Says:

    UPDATE: Chris is doing fine, he’s been released from the regimine of chemotherapy, and is off to college to major in film. He will be continued to be monitored, and he’s hoping to skate for the college hockey team this season. He’s feeling great.

  10. Phil Bolsta Says:

    I am SO happy to hear that, Sharon. Thank you for the update!

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