Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Support Letha Rodman Melchior's recovery!



Hi, friends. Today I'm sharing the text from an untouched press release because it's worded better than anything I'd be able to say about the situation at hand. There's a marvelous musician named Dan Melchior (he once made a pretty swell album with Holly Golightly, for one). Melchior's wife Letha, a musician in her own right, wound up with a bout of cancer two years ago, and because she lacks health insurance, she's relied on donations and the proceeds of benefit concerts to support her medical bills. Yes, there are artists of all types who've relied on donations when they couldn't afford health insurance and found themselves ill - comedian Rick Shapiro and Gossip frontwoman Beth Ditto, for two. And yes, if there were ever a case for a government-funded health care system in the U.S., or at very least, the healthcare subsidies that are going to take effect in 2014, this is it.

But this isn't about politics. Dan Melchior has an album coming out September 11 on Northern Spy, and Northern Spy will be donating all proceeds of the album's first pressing to the couple in support of their bills and her medical expenses. Not only would it help ensure the treatment necessary for her recovery, but Dan Melchior's a solid musician, so I'd be suggesting that you buy this record even if it weren't for his wife's cause.

Follow Letha's cancer progress and treatment by visiting her blog. As of July 17, she'd written that her cancer was thus far in her chest, lungs, and possibly her small intestine. She is also being treated for a more recently found brain tumor. In other words, she needs all the funding she can get for any sort of treatment she can get.

Please help by donating to the Melchior PayPal fund. They've got a lot of people behind them, rooting for Letha.

Purchase The Backward Path.

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From Northern Spy:

No one chooses when to get sick. If we could, most of us would be better off getting sick in 2014.

Our dear friend, artist and composer Letha Rodman Melchior was diagnosed with breast cancer and melanoma in 2010, and the drug trials she needs to stay alive are not covered by her insurance. She can’t afford to get the care her doctors are prescribing and for thousands of Americans with serious illness this is the reality--the choice between putting your family into massive debt or going without the treatments that may save you. In 2014, when The Affordable Care Act goes into effect, not only will health care providers be required to stop denying people better health coverage because of pre-existing conditions, but they’ll also be required to pay for the exact drug trials Letha is being subscribed. While the politicians debate about repealing the already lacking support systems for the poor, people’s lives are falling through the cracks. Actually, Letha is one of the lucky ones. The artist community around her has stepped up with countless benefit concerts and financial donations so she could get by financially up until now, and that makes us wonder what it is like for people that aren’t semi-famous underground artist-types.

It turns out that Letha’s husband is famous too. Guitarist and composer Dan Melchior has put out more records than anyone we know and if you don’t know who he is, then you’re either in your early twenties or way too mainstream to be reading this press release. Dan quit his day job to take care of Letha two years ago and since then it’s been just the two of them and their parakeet Glen shacked up in a little house in Durham, North Carolina trying to heal. Between countless trips to the doctor, Dan has managed to record some new music and even has a new record coming out on Northern Spy September 11th that is dedicated to his wife. It’s called The Backward Path and the album is an outright, unapologetic love letter--as moving a love letter as you have ever read. The songs show Dan in the depth of longing, longing for sleep, peace and health to come to his life again. A ton of amazing musicians helped make the album too. C. Spencer Yeh plays some violin on it. Haley L. Fohr from Circuit des Yeux sings, Anthony Allman from Dan’s Un das Menace band plays some keyboards, Ela Orleans adds some vocals, keyboards and guitar, and Sam Hillmer from Zs screams his saxophone over the top.

Northern Spy is donating all profits from the sale of the first pressing of The Backward Path to help pay for Letha’s ongoing health care costs and we hope to sell a lot of them. You can help by buying one, right now. Tell everybody you know to buy one too.

You can also send donations directly to Letha here, or if you are looking for tax-deduction, our sister company, the not-for-profit Jump Arts is also taking donations for Letha’s recovery. Make your tax-deductible donation by credit card here or send a check to Jump Arts - 39 Hawthorne Street, Brooklyn, NY 11225. Jump Arts is registered with the Department of Charities and is a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt organization that supports artists in their personal and professional development. All funds collected go directly to Letha or to paying her medical bills.

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