Some of John Miller’s bluegrass friends have started a fund drive to help him deal with the financial costs of fighting cancer and not being able to perform for a while.
The idea grew out of discussions between Mike Conner, who plays with John in The Travelers, Eastman Strings rep Tim Finch, who employs John in the Eastman String Band, and David Morris, John’s songwriting partner and a correspondent for Bluegrass Today.
“John and Mike and John and Tim have a lot more music to play together, and John and I have a lot more songs to write,” Morris said. “The doctors can do great things treating this form of cancer. We just need to help John and his wife, Cathy, pay the bills while he’s undergoing treatment and is unable to perform.”
Checks made out to John Miller can be sent to him in care of:
Carter Bank and Trust
370 Arbor Drive
Christiansburg, VA 24073
Every donor will be entered in a drawing to win an Eastman E10D guitar, the same model John plays on stage and in the studio. Eastman Strings is donating the instrument to honor John, who endorses the company’s guitars, and John will sign the label.
Tim said lining up the guitar donation was the least he could do. “John’s not just a member of our band, he’s a member of our family.”
The drawing for the guitar will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Eastman Strings booth at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass conference and festival in Raleigh, NC, and will be shipped to the winner from there.
As an added feature of the fundraising effort, Tim will cut off Morris’s hair that day – all of it – if at any point during the fund drive an individual donates or raises at least $500 on John’s behalf. “I’m rather attached to my hair, but it’s a small price for me to pay, and a great cause, so I’m actually rooting for this to happen,” Morris said.
John begins chemotherapy and radiation treatments this week for tongue cancer that is also present in some lymph nodes in his neck. “I’m ready for whatever comes,” he said. “I really feel so much care and concern right now from everyone.” John has been involved in benefits for other musicians who have fallen on hard times, but said he never expected to be the one needing help. “It’s something you don’t think about. It’s kind of shocking.”
John is willing to talk to others who are dealing with cancer, and urges anyone with questions or concerns to contact him through his Facebook page.