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Country duo Branch & Dean advocate for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Lifelong friends Steve Branch and Dean Scallan, who make up the country duo Branch & Dean, are National Celebrity Ambassadors for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. They are touching lives with their song “The Dash,” written in memory of Branch’s son Theron, who died last year of CF.
by Brandy McDonnell Modified: April 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm •  Published: April 29, 2014
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“Life goes by so fast/ And our story’s defined by how we spend that dash.”

— Branch & Dean, “The Dash”

Theron Branch didn’t get too many years on his tombstone, but his father chooses to focus on the dash between them.

“My son was my hero. He taught me a lot. You know, this world’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about everybody else and trying to help everybody else. It’s not about what I need, it’s about what everybody else needs. I’d have to say that’s probably the biggest thing my son taught me,” said Steve Branch, one-half of the country music duo Branch & Dean.

Branch and his longtime friend and musical partner Dean Scallan wrote their song “The Dash” in tribute to Theron, who died March 15, 2013, at age 23. The younger Branch struggled throughout his life with cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States.

The song encourages people to live their lives purposefully, since none of us is guaranteed another day, minute or even breath.

“I tell people this all the time: We’re not talented enough to write that song. That was a gift, and it was meant to change people’s lives. And it already has. And it’s been in many ways a saving grace for us, too,” Scallan said in a phone call last week from Nashville, Tenn., where the duo are now based.

“‘The Dash’ is about life. It’s not a sad song at all. It’s something we all go through, and it’s inspirational — how are you gonna live your life? Music’s intended to change lives, and we just never knew when we wrote this one that we’d be changing our own life.”

Becoming ambassadors

“I’ll take every breath like it’s the only one I’ll get/ ’cause there’s only so much breath you get to take.”

— Branch & Dean, “The Dash”

After his son died, Branch reached out to the Cysticbold Fibrosis Foundation in the duo’s native Florida, while Dean contacted the chapter in Nashville.

“I wanted to donate something for the cause, ’cause I didn’t want any kid to be out there needing medicine or a treatment or a vest — you know, they need all these things, and I just didn’t want any family to wonder how they were gonna get it,” Branch said.

They have since become National Celebrity Ambassadors for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“You know, my son was a gift to me. I think parents that have a child that has special needs, they were chosen to be those parents. Well, Theron was my gift, and my gift ... is still living through this song and through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. And he’ll never be forgotten, and that’s a great legacy for him,” Branch said.

As ambassadors, the duo travel the country on behalf of the foundation, appearing at events, playing in hospitals and performing “The Dash” and other songs from their 2013 self-titled debut album.

They will trek to Oklahoma City on Saturday for the annual OKC Great Strides Walk in Route 66 Park.

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by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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GOING ON

OKC Great Strides Walk

•Featuring: One-mile fundraising walk, Hero Awards presentation and mini-concert by Branch & Dean.

•When: 10 a.m. Saturday. Registration begins at 9 a.m.

•Where: Route 66 Park, 9901 NW 23.

•Information: 787-0056 or www.cff.org/chapters/okc.

About Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States and 70,000 worldwide.

A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

I think parents that have a child that has special needs, they were chosen to be those parents. Well, Theron was my gift, and my gift ... is still living through this song and through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. And he’ll never be forgotten, and that’s a great legacy for him.”

Steve Branch,

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