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Treat The Pain & Ellis Paul - "We All Belong"

June 27, 2011

Treat the Pain is a project of the American Cancer Society and the Union for International Cancer Control to improve access to essential pain medicines for people in pain around the world. We are excited to have Ellis Paul join our efforts.

The 85% of the world living in low and middle-income countries consumes just 6% of the pain medicines, leaving millions to live and die with severe pain that could be effectively treated with cheap medicines.

Medicines to treat pain are safe, effective, plentiful and affordable. A lack of political will keeps them from millions of people in pain. We believe that all people in pain deserve the peace that comes with effective pain treatment.

Proceeds from the sale of the song will benefit the Pain-Free Hospital Initiative in India. Click here to buy the song online.

   I was so honored to be asked to write a song for Treat the Pain. The challenge was to try to write something that was both a plea and a call to positive action, while of course sharing in the song some of the hardship that people are experiencing. How do you be uplifting and express pain at the same time?

I believe in the collective unconscious. That we are all part of the same ethos. That somehow all of our joys and sorrows are shared, even when not experienced directly together. In this way, someone who is suffering in Africa sends a ripple, a butterfly effect, out into this ethos, and in some way it eventually reaches all of us. Joy works in the same way.

That was my starting place. To show the individual, in pain, and show the whole of us, in action. The chorus is a call to arms, we all belong.... so to rise collectively, as a river and lift those in need.

We needed a big chorus and my friends at Sorted Noise were the perfect choice of a production team. I'm proud of their work, because they too rose to the call of action.

I hope you enjoy the song. In purchasing it, you become part of a global wide effort to cease uneccessary suffering in the world, and create ripples of peace in the process....

   Many thanks,
   Ellis Paul


The pain-free hospital initiative is a one-year, hospital-wide, quality improvement program to improve pain treatment by changing the clinical practices at key hospitals worldwide. The program provides training for physicians and nurses to evaluate and treat pain, uses targeted advocacy campaigns within the hospital to increase awareness of treatable pain, and works with government officials to ensure that essential pain medicines are available at all times. GAPRI will work with Pallium India to bring the Pain-free Hospital Initiative to India.

In December 2010, as we developed Treat the Pain, we searched for a voice to share the soul and fire that would inspire an audience the way that our work inspires us. After watching the 1985 charity hit single, ‘We Are the World,’ repeatedly on YouTube as we frequently do, we dreamed of finding our own Lionel Richie.

Ellis Paul, a staff favorite, emerged as a front runner for the position. But how would Treat the Pain, a newborn campaign, ever hope to sign on Ellis Paul? An opportunity arose when a snowstorm diverted Treat the Pain’s Director, Dr. Meg O’Brien to Boston on New Year’s Eve, and she scooped up the last few tickets to Ellis’ show at Club Passim. Ellis and his manager Ralph met with Meg and immediately agreed to write a song for the campaign. High fives all around!

What started out as a dream quickly became a reality for the team at Treat the Pain. Singing specifically about the millions suffering in pain around the world without adequate treatment, Ellis highlights the particular injustice of problems that have solutions, but go unsolved when people lack the will to take action.

Our partners working on the film LIFE Before Death are using the song in the film and have put together this moving video to accompany the song.

Treat The Pain

updated: 5 years ago