We’ve written several times recently about Florida bluegrass performer and entrepreneur Ernie Evans, and his being thrust suddenly into the unfamiliar role of cancer patient. As anyone who has faced this frightening proposition can attest, it is among the most unsettling situations a person can endure, and even though treatments may ultimately be effective, they are disruptive, need to be started as soon as possible, and without much time to consider what is about to happen.
Not only are there costs associated with treatment, there is often an inability to work during this period, something that can be especially damaging to self-employed people like Evans. Though the Evans’ do have insurance, deductibles must be paid and medications are costly.
Ernie’s son, Michael, has set up a fundraising site with GiveForward.com to help with his dad’s medical expenses, which contains this heartfelt appeal.
“Ernie Evans is well known in the music industry as a hard worker driven to produce and support live music in the bluegrass and acoustic music community. His venture as a music producer has obviously came with high financial risk, especially cultivating music with a limited fan base and not typically heard through mainstream outlets. His vision was always to promote bluegrass & acoustic music, the music he grew up with and expose it to new listeners in a part of the country that had little access to it. Over the last 15 years he and his family have created hundreds of jobs for national, regional and local musicians. Every penny and then some was reinvested into new projects to fulfill this dream. He also volunteered on the board of directors for the North Florida Bluegrass Association, hosted 3 Bluegrass radio shows and helped raise funds for the International Bluegrass Music Museum to name a few. He is also well known for mentoring the youth in the area teaching and encouraging them to play and sing through workshops, lessons and jam sessions.
In January of 2009, after 27 years in the flooring industry, Evans lost his job and main source of income during the recent recession. A job that supplemented losses with his growing music promotions. The down turn in the US economy was not only responsible for leaving him unemployed but it also made his vision more difficult as attendance and participation fell as the whole country was effected. Along with this misfortune, he lost his health insurance. Not giving up Evans kicked his mission in second gear immediately taking a full time job touring with Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, never drawing unemployment or any other government assistance. He believed there were others out there that needed it more. Full steam ahead he and his family created yet, more events and fought through the new rough terrain and continue today.
Approximately 7 months ago he started to show some symptoms that were not normal and concerned him while on tour and scheduled an appointment with a Dr. right away to be seen when he got home. Misdiagnosed as kidney stones he would later find out that he had developed “Grade 3 – Aggressive Cancer” in his bladder. Five months later surgery was performed to remove 2 tumors and a large stone with treatments to begin as soon as healing was complete.
Obviously, he has financial challenges ahead of him meeting deductibles, uncovered expenses by his primary Dr., Oncologist, Urologist, Hospital services, medications, treatments and more. He has also been limited for what he has been able to do performing which was his main source of income today.”
Ernie and Debbie Evans have enriched the lives of a great many people in the Florida bluegrass scene, and many beyond it. If you have the ability to share with their family at this time, donations can be made at GiveForward.com.