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Barry Crimmins

words to live near


An illness to one is an illness to all Sunday, August 8, 2010

An illness to one is an illness to all
Hello everyone,
Below is a letter from my friend Anne Feeney. Anne is a wonderful folksinger who was among the first to come to my aid just a few weeks ago. She wrote from Sweden, fresh from an emergency room. At the time she thought her health problems were not serious. Typically, she made a generous donation to me. Things have changed since then and not because she has suddenly become less generous. Now Anne -- who has distributed benefits in a way that would shame insurance companies, were they capable of shame -- needs our help. Her health problems are in fact serious, as she details in the letter below.

For those of you who know Anne, there's no need to describe what a tremendous artist, activist and person she is. The rest of you have a great treat in store as soon as you acquaint yourselves with our nation's preeminent musical voice for labor. She has carried on in the tradition of Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie, Odetta, Pete Seeger and Utah Phillips with a joy, wit and talent that's spread the most important of our musical messages -- the message that people must pull together, speak out and stand up to the forces of greed and callous disregard for the value and rights of workers.

My goal is to get twenty $50 donations from my readers. Then again, fifty $20 contributions would be fine, too. Both would be even better! Further, I promise to appear at a benefit for Anne whenever and wherever we can organize such an event (anytime after Sept 1 so I have a chance to pull my own health together). If someone wants to bid on my services to bring me out of performing retirement and to your town on Anne's behalf, drop me a line. All proceeds (minus modest travel expenses) will go to Anne. If you're an artist or run a venue and would like to offer your services, chime in!

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Here's the letter I received from Anne this morning.

How much one conversation with a doctor can change your life!

This time last week I thought the next time I'd be writing to you would be with my exciting September news and Labor Day special...

This time last week I thought I'd be in Sweden tonight packing to go to Ireland to meet up with all my wonderful tourmates.
Instead, here I am in Pittsburgh packing to go Shadyside Hospital. On August 3rd, in Sweden, a lung specialist advised me that I have an 11 cm tumor on my lung that is stressing both my heart and lungs in dangerous ways. As terrifying as this diagnosis is, it is in many ways a relief to get an explanation for the several mysterious and troubling symptoms I've had for the past few months... including increasing fatigue, shortness of breath, terrible coughing, and bizarre heart rhythms.  

I could have stayed in Sweden for the bronchoscopy, biopsy and surgery ... my health insurance would have covered everything in Sweden that it covers here. But even the best case scenario here will involve a protracted recovery period and probably at least six months out of work.  It was also hard to think about being so seriously ill so far away from my children, and my lifelong network of friends in Pittsburgh.

So here I am, at home in Pittsburgh, surrounded by friends and family.
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Luckily, Tom Pigott and I have been able to arrange full and wonderful coverage for both the Ireland tours in August.  The wonderful Charlie King will be joining the August 10-19th tour, and Tom will be hosting the August 22-31st tour with some of my favorite folks in Ireland. Both tours will continue uninterrupted, but, alas, without me this year.

My friend Jan Boyd has set up a Caring Bridge page for those of you who want regular medical updates on my condition. The URL is here ...  (The only reason you have to log in to the site is to keep spam robots from posting stupid messages...)

I hope to be posting updates on Facebook as well as soon as I feel up to it.

I'm pretty sure it will be difficult for me to talk on the phone for a while. I would love it if you'd post get well wishes, stories & jokes for me on my guestbook (It's a moderated guestbook, so what you write won't appear on the guestbook until I read it and approve it--- otherwise I'm pretty sure the guestbook would be nothing but ads for viagra and such..)

This diagnosis has wiped out most of my meager folksinger's savings. I've had to cancel a lot of work that I was counting on, and incurred a lot of unexpected travel expenses. Although most of my medical bills will be covered (now that I've come up with the $6000 in deductibles and copay), it seems unlikely that I'll be able to return to my hectic tour schedule, or any full time work, for several months.

If you want to help me out with what are going to be fairly staggering expenses by folksinger's standards... I'm hoping to find 1000 folks who'll pony up $50 ...  I really don't want any larger donations ... I don't want anyone to dig deep for this... and if $50 is hard for you to come by, PLEASE don't think about sending me a cent. I know I have enough dear friends who are doing okay that those of you who are struggling shouldn't spend a second worrying about my finances.

You could send a check to me:
crimmins 9151

Anne Feeney
2240 Milligan Ave
Pittsburgh  PA 15218
or you can send a donation via Paypal
to: getwellanne
If you're not sure how to do that...
 there's also a "donate" button you can click about 4 inches down on the right hand side of
my blog ...
clicking on that "donate" button will also allow you to make a safely encrypted online donation.

I'll have a lot more to say and share about health care... especially the amazing Swedish health care system, when I'm not so tired.
crimmins 9151

I hope that you'll spread the word to any of our friends that may not subscribe to the Fellow Travelers' Advisory.

As I'm wandering around the sweet little house I get to spend so little time in, I keep finding boxes and boxes of thank you cards that I have purchased and never mailed.  My heart overflows with gratitude to all of you for your daily work for justice, art and truth - for your steadfast support of the many projects I've brought to you in the past... I am so honored to call you my friend.

Many of my oldest and dearest friends are gathering here with me at the house to help me prepare for the coming ordeal. I cherish them, and you, and hope to be in touch with all of you soon.

Anne Feeney
Buy Anne's CDs here!
crimmins 9151

updated: 12 years ago