BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It started with a phone call and a dream. Tom Lillis says Joey Nicastro reached out to him about a year ago.
"He said, 'You know I've always wanted to really have a record and make it go big nationally,'" said Lillis.
The two were already in a band together, but the goal here isn't rock and roll stardom.
Lillis and Nicastro work with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Western and Central New York chapter. They know what it's like to see a loved one, like Lillis's nephew, struggle with blood cancer.
"When he was two, he came down with leukemia. It was a rough few years," said Lillis, a member of the LLS’s advisory committee.
The duo wanted to write a song, sell it, and donate all proceeds to LLS. When it came time to record, they turned to musicians with strong ties to Buffalo, including one well-known Canadian rocker.
"I just was on board right away," said Ron Hawkins.
Hawkins is lead singer of the band Lowest of the Low. He, too, has a personal connection to the project.
"There's countless people I know who've contracted cancer and have died, from 10-years-old to 70-years-old," Hawkins said.
After four months of writing nearly 30 songs, "Against the Storm" won out. The hope is funds will help lead to more success stories like that of Lillis's nephew, who is now 26-years-old and doing well.
"The survival rate for leukemia in children was very low,” said Nicastro, an LLS trustee. “But now, I believe the survivor rate is close to 90 percent. A lot of that reason is because there's been so much effort nationally, raising money for LLS. It goes directly into the research, and there's just groundbreaking developments everyday."
The song will be released in Buffalo and Toronto first, but could go nationwide.