Kentucky-born bluegrass guitarist, mandolin player and singer Mark Newton was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver due to a variety of causes almost 20 years ago.
In the ensuing period, as his condition deteriorated, Newton has fought a battle with the disease, with many hospitalizations due to the poor liver and kidney function. During a routine abdominal scan in March 2021, his doctors discovered six tumours in his liver some of which are cancerous, unfortunately.
Since April he has been undergoing successful chemotherapy treatment on three of those masses. However, there is a likelihood that the three remaining may become malignant as well.
To qualify for a liver transplant the lumps must be reduced in size and stay manageable. The road to getting on the transplant list and to get a liver is a long one. A patient has a minimum six-month waiting period, and then to actually get a replacement liver could take months to years.
To help with the considerable costs involved with this ongoing treatment, his daughter, Carly, has set up a crowd funding campaign. Donations can be made at GoFundMe.
On Friday, July 23, 2021, Cycle Haus Nashville will be hosting a charity ride to help raise money for Mark, as well as to increase awareness of liver cancer. Further details can be found on the GoFundMe site.
Starting at the age of 14 when he began playing in his father’s band, Mark Newton has enjoyed a long career in bluegrass music. Since then, he formed his own band, Cabin Hill, been part of illustrious groups, Heights of Grass, the Knoxville Grass, the Virginia Squires, and the Tony Rice Unit.
In 1990 he formed his own Newton Entertainment Agency and began promoting the Graves Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Virginia; later he teamed up with Bill Emerson to form The Bill Emerson and Mark Newton Band; formed the Mark Newton Band; fronted the Stillhouse Band; and, most recently, formed a duo with fiddler/vocalist Steve Thomas.
Newton has recorded several albums for Rebel Records and one for Pinecastle.
In 2001 he won IBMA award for Recorded Event of the Year (for his album Follow Me Back to the Fold).