Artist Story Title

Artist Story Title

Artist Story Title

Artist Story Title

Artist Story Title

Artist Story Title

Single Parent with Cancer

 

A 54-year-old guitarist was a major studio musician and sideman in the ’80s and ’90s. At the age of 44 he was diagnosed with cancer and has undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy. He was recently given 15 months to live.

Knowing that time was a concern we could think of no better way to help than to give him a trip with his son while he was well enough to travel, to make a lasting memory they could share forever.

Two of our patrons made it happen. One gave them his frequent flyer miles, and the other got them a pad in London. We sent them packing, and they had the trip of a lifetime. It cost us nothing, but it gave a father and son a moment that neither will ever forget.

He has not been able to gig much, because once people in the business find out that you have cancer and are battling time, they don’t think to hire you. The small disability payment he has been living on leaves him barely enough to feed himself, let alone his son. Thanks to you, we have been able to supplement his rent and food for him and his son. He said the hardest part of all this, aside from the constant worry of dying and not being there for his child, is never knowing when his time is up. He can’t plan or get work while being in the hospital all day long on chemo. His treatment leaves him with too much time in his own head.  As a solution, we created a small part-time job visiting older musicians who are in nursing homes and have no opportunity to “talk shop”. He said the conversations they have and the laughter has done even more for him than the seniors. He said that “Being of service has given him some purpose and got him out of his own head.”

We know it’s not going to fix the big issues but it makes the rough road, a little kinder.

HERE’S THE THING

As we become family to these beautiful people they become family to us and that’s how healing occurs because it is love-based. Things get better when someone really hears you, cares deeply and allows the solutions to be creative, since everyone’s needs are different. It’s not just about paying rent or buying food – we look at the whole person and see the long- and short-term concerns and try to address the things that will allow hope to replace despair.

Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico

In the days following Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico, we got word on a Sunday night from another musician that a legendary musician, age 83, was homeless in NY.

He had been living in San Juan through 2017’s Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in an apartment without running water or electricity. He needed medical attention after a fall in his apartment but could not get any care because the island was in a state of chaos. No one could be expected to deal with this, let alone an 83-year-old man by himself. He managed to get a flight to NYC, but when he landed, being in such a weakened state, he fell again at the airport and hit his head. He was rushed to a hospital, and three days later they told him he must be discharged. Because he had no one to take care of him, they were going to place him in a homeless shelter! We started making phone calls that night to find temporary lodging and connected him with a fellow musician who welcomed him into her home. We later found a longer-term solution in the apartment of another musician who needed a roommate to make his rent, and we are helping pay his share to help them both. We will now apply for Medicaid and look for subsidized housing. Since he had no clothes for the NYC winter, we bought him a warm coat and some boots, along with pants and sweaters, thanks to you. Our special partners at Englewood Hospital are giving him regular checkups. We are making sure he gets to our Monday Night Jams and other events as part of the process of reconnecting with old friends and the music community.

Houston Family after Hurricane Harvey & Illness

40-year-old trumpeter, lives with wife and three children under the age of 5.

They relocated to Texas after their New Orleans home was destroyed by the floods when the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Now, their home just flooded in Hurricane Harvey (their third flood in three years), and they were denied assistance by FEMA because the water damage was not visible, even though the damp floors and smell of mold were obvious to anyone who stepped inside the house. His instrument had been stored in a car in an area he thought would be safe from flooding, but when the Army Corps of Engineers opened the reservoirs, the horn and the car were destroyed. Just before the floods, this musician underwent major colon surgery and he was unable to play or earn income during his recovery period. He had to sell the van he used for a home painting business to cover his $8,500 insurance payment for the operation. His wife also has multiple medical issues for which she is currently in treatment. In order to assist with the overwhelming situation facing them we were able to get him a new horn, one that he loved, thanks to our supporters. We were also able to hire a water damage expert to make the house safe again for them and their children. It was a serious challenge for our musician to prep the house for the remediation, as he could not lift anything or carry furniture to clear the house for the bio-washing and drying process to kill the toxic bacteria. We arranged for a team to gut the home and remove all debris from the premises before decontaminating the space. Because of YOU – our donors – it is safe for the children to breathe and play inside of their home.

Jazz & Blues in the Schools and The Gig Fund

75yr old horn man had pneumonia and couldn’t make his regular $60-a-night restaurant gigs.

Clubs had closed down, and those that remained were only booking famous acts and didn’t give gigs to those who were not bandleaders. He had made his life playing on Frank Sinatra albums and touring with the band. Back in the day, it was common to make $300 for a day of recording with no residuals. Without these little restaurant gigs he couldn’t pay his rent and was evicted after three months-he was so weak from the pneumonia that he could not blow his horn. Now he was living out of his car and, without an apartment, he was unable to give lessons to students and had no money to pay a month’s security and rent even on a room somewhere. We got him immediately into our Jazz & Blues in the Schools program and hooked him up with a local band. We were then able to help him move to Las Vegas, where he hooked up with a fancy hotel that offered him a steady gig. He has never needed us since then.

Pro Bono Hip Replacement

61-year-old drummer was, for many years, dealing with various medical issues including debilitating arthritis in her hip.

JFA connected her with an orthopedist at Englewood Hospital, and for six years he monitored and treated her condition free of charge. Her hip deteriorated to the point where replacement was unavoidable, and surgery was scheduled for months later. The doctor informed us that she needed the surgery immediately – a delay would cause too much damage to top hip area. We explored her options and called some of the top hospitals in New York to find out how long it would take to get an appointment with an orthopedist via Medicaid. We found out that she would have had to wait at least two months to get an appointment and would have to wait another three months to get surgery. Her orthopedist said it was medically unsound for her to wait, and it was decided to do the surgery at Englewood Hospital in New Jersey. She incurred no costs, and JFA drove her to and from all appointments and made sure she had the proper coverage at home once she was discharged. We also set her up with a rehabilitation facility and provided her with someone to accompany her to and from treatments. She is back to work and gigging frequently.

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