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Denver musician and Special Olympics athlete collaborate to create song and lifelong bond

Special Olympian uses music to find light through leukemia, loss
Posted at 6:28 AM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 08:29:45-05

DENVER — A Denver musician and a Special Olympics athlete have created a new song filled with soul that's hitting the airwaves.

From the basketball court to the soccer field, Jason Horton pours his heart and soul into sports. His exceptional talent was honored with an ESPY Award (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award) and a visit with Payton Manning in 2017.

The Special Olympian is battling leukemia and is in treatment. He’s remained resilient through multiple cancers that have taken so much. He lost a leg, his eyesight, three ribs and part of his hearing in the process. But underneath his smile and drive, there's heartache.

Horton lost the love of his life, Yuritza Cerda, in 2018.

“She was a great person and she was a special friend to me,” Horton said.

At the beginning of 2019, he began pouring his heartache into his poems.

Zach Heckendorf, a local musician, met Horton through There With Care, a local nonprofit. The two bonded over music and their love for Ariana Grande. They developed a friendship perfectly in tune.

Heckendorf said he recalls finding heart in Horton’s poems and a vulnerability. Together, the two created one of Horton's poems into lyrical art. After two sessions, they created the song "The Wolf and The Moon” and Horton dedicated it to Cerda.

Horton said he feels deep inside his soul Cerda would be proud of the song they penned her. His favorite line is, “Now, all my energy, it all flows to towards you. Like a wolf that’s been howling at the moon.”

“The wolf and the moon is really a symbol,” Heckendorf said. “You were the wolf, she was the moon.”

The two have formed a brotherhood, Heckendorf said.

Horton said creating music is helping him heal and “makes me feel like I can keep going.”

They have plans to create a new song, too. Horton said he wants to call it “Troopers” and dedicate it to everyone battling cancer. He wants them to know they’re not alone.