Video: Making a Difference

By Rehema Ellis Correspondent
NBC News
updated 10/7/2006 8:50:36 AM ET 2006-10-07T12:50:36

For songwriter John Beltzer, music is his passion. And while his songs have never topped the music charts, he says "every song you write for a child is a guaranteed hit."

Especially when it's a personalized song for a child battling a life-threatening illness.

Like Lindsey, a diabetic. Or Meagan and Ashley, both diagnosed with leukemia.

"Who drives the car, Ashley Abernathy," one song goes.

Beltzer began writing songs for kids 10 years ago as a tribute to his twin brother, Julio, who committed suicide.

He worked with hospitals to identify sick children.

The lyrics are based on information from profile sheets filled out by parents and kids. All their favorite things — friends, hobbies, even pets — are set to music.

"We don't address the illness in the songs, we address who they are as beautiful people," Beltzer says.

Beltzer and a few friends were writing the songs and tirelessly seeking donations to get them produced through his non-profit foundation, Songs of Love.

They composed 30 songs in a year. Today, with an army of volunteers nationwide, the foundation produces 250 songs a month. And now, a milestone: 10,000 songs.

His 10,000th song was written for Saeed Boynes, who has sickle cell anemia.

"It was amazing," Boynes says. "I really liked it."

One songwriter in tune with sick children, and writing their songs.

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