From high notes to slow melodic periods, the music of Iris Harden tells the tale of her life, her struggles and her determination to overcome.
After a painful divorce, Harden was diagnosed with osteomalcia malabsorptionbone deficiency. This disease weakens bones to the point that a simple bump can cause a break.
"I've had a few bones break for almost no reason," she said. "It's frustrating to want to do something, but being stopped by your own body."
Harden also suffers from other associated illnesses and has received treatment from the Mayo Clinic and St. Luke's in Jacksonville, Fla. She's now trying to raise money to help pay for her treatments. The Iris Harden Medical Fund is set up at SouthTrust Bank.
Not long ago she was rushed to Doctors Hospital, where doctors were able to save her hands, which had become infected and swollen.
"I can't thank the doctors there enough for what they've done for me," she said.
Through it all, Harden has used her music not only to help herself, but others.
"Music is better than pain medicine," she said.
While still in a hospital bed she wrote the song The Terror of New York minutes after she saw the attack on the World Trade Center. She recorded that song and others on a dedication CD to the victims of Sept. 11 and received a letter of thanks from the New York mayor's office.
Harden's ultimate dream is to make it as a recording artist. Locally, she works with local recording talent and longtime friend Thomas Brooks and cover designer Don Baker.
Harden already has won awards such as the Airplay International King Eagle Award in 2000 and a Golden Pen Award, and has released several CDs. Harden attributes her strength to God, family and friends and intends to keep on writing as long as she is able.
"If I can help enlighten someone's life through my music I'm thankful," she said as she also plans to donate a portion of her musical income to St. Andrews Lighthouse, a hospital hospitality house in Jacksonville Beach, Fla. "Despite financial and physical hardships I know I can make it."
For people interested in learning more about Iris Harden or in purchasing CDs or making donations, you can e-mail her at email@example.com.
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