OneRepublic music video shares Rock Canyon student’s story with the world
Band highlights Bryan Warnecke’s fight with Cystic Fibrosis
HIGHLANDS RANCH – So far, more than 1.6 million people have watched OneRepublic’s newest music video, “I Lived” on YouTube. The video is a celebration of the life of Rock Canyon High School sophomore Bryan Warnecke who has battled Cystic Fibrosis (CF) since birth.
In the uplifting video, Warnecke shares his story, discussing what it has been like to fight the life threatening disease, which affects approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States and 70,000 worldwide.
“Cystic fibrosis is a disease that attacks the digestive system and slowly shuts down the lungs,” Warnecke explained in the video. “The mucus in everyone else’s lungs is mostly water, so you can clear it easier. When it comes to my lungs, the mucus is very syrupy.”
Until the video, most students at Rock Canyon High School probably had no idea that Warnecke was battling a serious disease, forced to endure treatments every day for the past 15 years, to ease the impact of the disease.
“It feels like I’m breathing through a straw. Whenever I try to breathe hard, it hurts," said Warnecke.
Bryan’s dad, Steve, says last winter was especially tough.
“He missed four or five weeks of school and he was at Children’s Hospital for a week,” Steve Warnecke said. “He got really, really sick. He had to go in and get a full tune up at the hospital, with heavy antibiotics and heavy steroids.”
Bryan, however, hasn’t let the disease slow him down.
“I want to make the most out of my life and have as much fun as I can. My biggest fear is not being able to do that,” Bryan Warnecke said.
He is an active teenager, playing hockey and cycling. In fact, last summer he decided to conquer the grueling Courage Classic.
Even as he struggled through the toughest moments last winter, he and his dad were already planning on an even bigger feat, which they accomplished this summer. They rode 1,065 miles through 46 Colorado cities and over 8 mountain passes in 43 days—raising a record $300,000 for Children’s Hospital of Colorado.
It is this spirit that caught the attention of OneRepublic.
“They said, ‘you know, we’ve been looking around the country over the past four or five months trying to find the right story to pair up with this song, ‘I Lived.’ We really want to do a music video about your son’s life,’” Steve Warnecke said. “Within a week, they were out here doing a concert and we were shooting video and three weeks later they had the video all put together and up on YouTube. It was an incredible experience.”
“It is a dream come true,” added Bryan Warnecke. “It was so much fun spending so much time with these guys from OneRepublic. Honestly, these guys were larger than life.”
The Warnecke family says they are thankful for the band, as well as the 40 members of the video crew who have helped to bring attention to this important issue.
“For Ryan Tedder and One Republic to do something like this, to take a chance and take a hit song and make it something really good… there is no way we can repay them for the level of awareness they’re giving to the CF community,” Steve Warnecke said.
The touching video has moved thousands of people from around the world to leave comments. Some of the writers were from as far away as Germany, Japan and China. Nearly all said they were inspired by Bryan Warnecke’s courageous story. Below are some excerpts of their messages, as they appeared on YouTube:
“I watched this video and Now My life is different. I was on my bed, doing nothing, and I realized that outside there was a beautiful world, I took my bike and...I LIVED.”
“Wow! This makes you appreciate life so much! Like we complain about the smallest things but then you see people who are going through so much and they don't complain and they appreciate the opportunities they have and make the most of it.”
“Bryan is such an inspiration for everyone who is going through something and every time I watch the video I'm motivated because of him.”
“Cried my way through this song. I am 12 and have cystic fibrosis. I am a fighter!”
“Love love love it! This brought me to tears! (good tears) I'd love the chance to cycle with this remarkable young man btw! Thank you OneRepublic for making such a beautiful video for such an under discussed cause. You Guys are AMAZING! Much Love! Keep the wind at your back and keep on rollin'...”
“Bryan you are such a brave and amazing young man. I am so sorry that you and thousands of others have had to live with CF. It makes me so happy tho that you have parents who obviously love u so very much and support you in your brave fight to live life to the fullest. I hope that others with CF have friends and family that they can rely on to be there for them. OneRepublic thank you for helping to bring attention to people with CF.”
“I have cystic fibrosis. And this is the most amazing thing. I'm so honored to be apart of the cystic fibrosis family. Keep fighting my brothers and sisters. We will take one step at a time. And one day hopefully soon, we will also take a deep breath without pain. ( aka hopefully a cure ).”
Steve Warneke, who also serves as a senior vice president for the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation, says it is difficult for an organization like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to get the type of exposure that OneRepublic has brought to the issue.
“Thank goodness that guys like Ryan Tedder are out there trying to make a difference in the world, instead of shooting a lot of the garbage that is out on video today,” Steve Warnecke said.
The Warneckes say they hope the attention will help researchers find a cure.
“We are really very close,” Bryan Warnecke said. “We already have one drug that works for about four percent of the CF population. There are a couple more coming along. The cure is really within sight in the case of this disease.”
“This means the world to me,” Bryan Warnecke added. “If we can cure this disease it would change everyone’s lives, not only now, but also in the next generation and the generation after that, the generation after that, and every other generation to come.”