Bluegrass fans are well familiar with Mark Schatz. He has played bass with some of our music’s brightest lights, from Tony Rice and Doc Watson to Claire Lynch and Nickel Creek. His collaborations with Jerry Douglas and Béla Fleck are legendary, with many of his appearances also featuring his stellar buck dancing skills.
Those skills come to him naturally through his wife, Eileen, a noted folk dancer and instructor who has been prominent with groups like the Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble and The Fiddle Puppets. She performed during the IBMA Awards show in Raleigh a few years back, and helped choreograph and arrange the steps in that opening dance number.
Now comes news that Eileen has been diagnosed with a particularly nasty cancer, and Mark has cleared his tour schedule to be with her at home this next six months as she undergoes treatment. Doctors have identified an aggressive stage III pancreatic cancer and have prescribed a course of chemotherapy that should take three to six months. It is hoped that therapy will reduce the size of the tumor to a degree where it can be excised surgically.
There will be considerable expenses accruing for Mark and Eileen during this time, not to mention the loss of income for both of them the rest of this year.
So friends have established a GoFundMe page to provide financial assistance. They have set a goal to raise $50,000 for the couple, and have seen donations of just over $17,000 in just two days.
If you have enjoyed the music and the movement these two have provided over the last 40 years, and are in a position to help, donations can be accepted online.
The Schatzes will also be grateful for your prayers and well wishes. Mark can be reached via his web site.