John Driskell Hopkins
’ new single, “I’ll Take You Home,”
is an emotive new song from the Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band-member which is inspired by a story of extraordinary love, resilience, tragedy and hope.
John Driskell Hopkins is a Grammy-winning founding-member of The Zac Brown Band, and an acclaimed songwriter. Hopkins recently released the solo album Lonesome High, which gained plaudits from Billboard, Rolling Stone and The Boot. He will be hitting the road both with Zac Brown Band and for a series of solo concerts across the US this summer.
The story began with eleven-year-old Grace Bunke’s diagnosis with the rare bone cancer osteosarcoma. Grace’s story embodies the spirit of her fight to live an inspirational life before her tragic passing on the eve of her fifteenth birthday, and illustrates the far-reaching legacy she left through her work for the nonprofit Swim Across America. And the legacy she left behind by asking her mom Vicki to continue to carry her torch by swimming for her with Swim Across America.
Hopkins’ involvement with this story is drawn from his family’s personal connection to Grace Bunke. His daughters attended the same elementary school in Marietta, Georgia, and he was greatly moved by Grace’s spirit as her, and her family, undertook their battle against this aggressive strain of cancer. To honor Grace’s legacy, a portion of the song’s proceeds are being donated to Swim Across America.
Faith and umbrellas play an important theme in the John Driskell Hopkins song “I’ll Take You Home,” with the lyrics, “You prayed for rain. So, I brought my umbrella. Let it fall down around ya. Like it falls from my eyes. I know your pain. So I’ve come here to tell you, You’re not alone, I’ll take you home.”
From her diagnosis, Grace remained a passionate athlete and committed to living her life to the fullest. Even when the complications of her cancer led to a partial leg amputation and unusual rotationplasty where the bottom portion of her leg was reattached backwards, Grace embraced the world of swimming, taking part in sponsored swim meets in aid of Swim Across America, and eventually achieving a USA Paralympic cap shortly before her passing. As she said, “I swim because it helps me to forget. It helps me to forget that my cancer keeps coming back threatening to steal the air from my lungs and stop my heart from beating. I swim because in the water, I have a chance to be extraordinary despite the physical disability that my cancer caused. I swim because it is a chance to challenge myself, to fight through pain and discomfort, and emerge on the other side stronger and tougher and more resilient than I was before.”In memory of, and as tribute to, “Amazing Grace”, her mother Vicki Bunke will be taking part in fourteen Swim Across America meets this year with the goal of raising $100,000 towards research for pediatric cancer. Vicki explains what drives Team Amazing Grace, “We swim to honor Grace. We swim because she can’t. We swim for a better future in which someone like Grace is alive and well and swimming with us. We swim because hope has no finish line.”
Grace’s story and her mom Vicki’s were profiled in the first two episodes of Discovery Life Network’s new docu-series “WaveMakers,” airing Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. (ET) through August 12, 2021.
For more information about Grace and Vicki Bunke, as well as Swim Across America, please visit the Team Amazing Grace Swim Across America page.