Thursday, November 26, 2009

“Fight of Our Life Health Tour” Packs a Powerful Promise

Grammy-Award winning Gospel Artist Kirk Franklin Tours Seven Cities, Urges Audiences to Take Control of Their Health

The Power to End Stroke Campaign got a celebrity boost this summer when Kirk Franklin launched his “Fight of Our Life Health Tour” as part of the SCA’s first-ever affiliate-wide partnership and concert series featuring an artist of his caliber. The campaign gained momentum and attracted nationwide attention when local Gospel artists from each market were offered a chance to audition to be the opening act for Franklin in each city. Tapes from as far away as Florida and Indiana were submitted. In all, hundreds of acts were considered and only one or two per market won the title of opening act for Kirk Franklin, known for his unique style of hip-hop Gospel.

The tour began in Houston this past June, where more than 3,500 people attended the concert and took the Power to End Stroke pledge. The audience was treated to Franklin’s upbeat music fused with empowering messages of taking control of their health to reduce their risk for stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and claims the lives of African Americans at a rate three times that of other races. “Stroke is a serious health issue that is claiming the lives of our loved ones and we are bringing increased awareness to help stop this devastation in our communities,” said Franklin, a native of Fort Worth, who also hosts “Sunday Best” on BET (Black Entertainment Television).

From there, the tour made a next-day stop in San Antonio where Franklin performed to two sold-out shows, registering more than 3,000 people for the Power to End Stroke campaign. Concert goers also had an opportunity to receive blood pressure screenings and copies of the Soul Food Cookbook. Tulsa welcomed Franklin in July along with his special guest, Crystal Aikin, the season two winner from “Sunday Best.” Nearly 4,000 people packed the Mabee Center and some 3,500 people took the pledge at the concert presented by St. John Medical Center.

Making a stop in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in August, Franklin not only invited season one and two winners from Sunday Best (Aikin and Iyana Crawley), but he also called on his nationally known Gospel artist friends Tye Tribbett and Fred Hammond to join him as he performed to a crowd of more than 7,500 and garnered nearly 2,000 pledges. The next day, the performance continued in Austin, where approximately 3,000 people were treated to a spirited performance. The pledge cause goal for Austin was met that night when more than half of the crowd joined the campaign. The Seton Family of Hospitals was the presenting sponsor of the Austin performance.

Franklin headed to Little Rock in October where he performed alongside other artists during the city-wide Luis Palau Festival and shared the health message with more than 20,000 festival goers. Concert goers received information on all of our causes and more than 1,500 people took the pledge.

The last stop of the tour had Franklin returning to the great state of Oklahoma where he was received by a sold-out crowd in Oklahoma City. Nearly 2,700 people filled the pews of the Fairview Baptist Church and overflow area for a chance to hear the international artist and to learn how they can make lifestyle changes towards healthier living. 879 people made the first step by taking the pledge that evening. The highlight of the evening was when Franklin commended septuagenarian Ken Carter, a jazz saxophonist and stroke survivor, who traveled to Oklahoma as the guest of Oklahoma City resident and SCA President, Janet M. Spradlin, Ph.D., ABPP. “I don’t think you can find anyone more suitable than Kirk Franklin to excite, convince, and inspire people to change their lifestyle and do everything they can to prevent or minimize the effects of a stroke,” she shared.


In Oklahoma City, Kirk Franklin was joined by Ken Carter, a former professional musician. Ken learned to play the saxophone with just one arm after he suffered a stroke and the use of his right arm. He now volunteers to play for patients in the same hospital that took care of him. Read more of his inspirational story here…

Photo credit: Ross Taylor/The Hartford Courant

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