Four months after his death, Minnesota teen's song has raised $568,000 for cancer researchBefore Zach Sobiech died from bone cancer in May, he wrote and performed a song, "Clouds," as a farewell to family and friends. It has received more than 8 million views on YouTube.
By: Mary Divine, St. Paul Pioneer Press / MCT
Zach Sobiech wanted his death to mean something.
Sobiech is the Lakeland teenager whose song "Clouds" became an Internet sensation shortly before he died of cancer in May at age 18.
"He always felt so badly for those other children who were in the hospital with him, especially the little ones who had osteosarcoma," said Laura Sobiech, Zach’s mother. "He said on more than one occasion that if he had to die so those kids could have a childhood again, he would do that. That was very important to him. I know he was very excited when we started the (Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma) Fund -- that he would actually get to realize that dream."
Sobiech’s family and girlfriend, Amy Adamle, on Saturday will present the University of Minnesota Medical Foundation with a check for $568,704 during the Gophers football game at TCF Bank Stadium. The check will be presented between the first and second quarters; game time is 11 a.m.
Researchers at the U of M will use the money to help prevent and cure osteosarcoma, Laura Sobiech said.
Zach Sobiech was diagnosed with bone cancer three years before he died. Last fall, he wrote and performed "Clouds" as a farewell to family and friends. It has received more than 8 million hits on YouTube.
Days after his death, "Clouds" became the No. 1 rock song in the country, according to Billboard magazine. It also reached No. 1 on iTunes -- and stayed at the top of the charts for four days.
Proceeds from the sale of the song and YouTube views are donated to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund through the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
Sales of "Clouds" remain strong, said Scott Herold, CEO and founder of Rock the Cause, which released Sobiech’s album.
"It is absolutely astounding," Herold said. "I don’t think any of us suspected or could have even dreamed that it would go as far as it did. What’s interesting is that it continues to be kind of a runaway train."
In the past 30 days, the song has had 75,000 streams on Spotify and been downloaded about 5,000 times. "It’s showing no sign of slowing down," Herold said. "It’s in the public psyche; it’s out there."
Sobiech’s longtime friend and songwriting partner, Sammy Brown, is releasing another single through Rock the Cause in October, Herold said. Proceeds from the song, "How to Go to Confession," also will go to the osteosarcoma fund.
"She wrote the song for Zach," Herold said. "It’s a beautiful song that really showcases her vocal styles and how Irish Celtic folk music has influenced her. Sammy wants the song out there to continue to raise money for Zach’s fund."
"Fly A Little Higher," Laura Sobiech’s inspirational book about Zach, is scheduled for publication May 20, 2014, the first anniversary of his death, Laura Sobiech said. Sobiech said Thursday that she just finished the first draft of the book, which is being published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian bookseller.
The video "Clouds" also is up for an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award, she said. The ceremony will be Sept. 28 at the State Theatre in Minneapolis.