We’ve written several times this year about Tommy Long, guitarist and lead vocalist with Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, and his ongoing battle with throat cancer. Tommy stepped aside from the band in March when he got the diagnosis, and has been undergoing radiation treatment for several months.
It hasn’t been fun, but it looks like he’s on the mend. The radiation has burned his throat, requiring a feeding tube for nourishment, and regular therapy at the burn treatment center. But cabin fever got the best of him, and Tommy decided to accompany the band on the recent First Quality Bluegrass cruise, hosted by Larry and Lisa Efaw. He hadn’t sung a note since early this year, with not much talking, but a Caribbean cruise still sounded like a fine way to ease the cancer blues.
Lorraine said that everyone was delighted to see Tommy again on the ship, even though no one expected him to sing.
“It was nice having Tommy on the ship and everyone enjoyed seeing him. The last set Carolina Road performed, Tommy surprised everyone and came up and said he was going to and sing Digging up Bones. He said he did not know if he would get through a single line, but he was going to try. There was not a dry eye in the audience. Tommy sang the entire song and even though it was not his powerful voice you heard on two number one songs and SPBGMA 2015 traditional sing of the year as it was in perfect tone. No one knows but the good Lord what the future is for Tommy as a full time singer, but everyone that was on the ship that night knows Tommy has worked hard to get back on the stage.”
He is going to try again when Carolina Road hosts Bluegrass Christmas in The Smokies in Pigeon Forge, TN (December 6-9) during the band’s Saturday night set. Lorraine tells us that all general admission tickets for that night are going to the Tommy Long Medical Fund, which has raised over $25,000 to support him during this time. He has many medical expenses plus living costs as he has been unable to work all year.
“Tommy is so grateful to everyone who has donated to his cause. Whether you have sent funds to the cause, donated a cake or an item for an auction, or if you are an IBMA member and helped raise money for the trust fund that donated a substantial check to the cause, we thank everyone. You have made a difference in Tommy’s life and he does not take it lightly, and will never forget. Someday, Tommy hopes to be able to give back by singing again and supporting these great causes himself.”
Donations are still being accepted on his GoFundMe page, and can be made using PayPal or a major credit card online.
We can’t wait to see Tommy Long back on stage regularly again. Heal up quick!