I’ve always believed in the adages of “what goes around, comes around” and “one good deed deserves another.”
A few weeks ago my friend, Susie Suh, posted on her Facebook page about a fund she was heading up to raise money for a friend who is dealing with Lupus. Her story was particularly moving for me because her friend was a veteran of the music industry.
The music industry can be a cruel beast. We only hear about the stories of musicians who have hit tough times, but there are countless numbers of people who work behind the scenes, whose stories aren’t as publicized, who’ve helped to put together the music of our lives. I was particularly moved because I work in the music industry too, and I’ve known (and know) what it’s like to hit a tough patch. I felt the need to get this particular story out because I can only imagine if something like this ever happened to me and I needed help, I’d want some of my friends to help me out as well.
Jolie Levine is a veteran of the music industry. Although I’ve never met her, I definitely know of the projects she’s worked on. Here’s a short list from her “resume”:
- Michael Jackson’s “Bad”
- “We Are The World”
- Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill”
- Kelly Clarkson’s “Thankful”
- No Doubt’s “Return of Saturn”
The list goes on.
My friend Susie wrote up a nice little summary of her friend’s struggle:
“My name is Susie Suh and my dear friend Jolie has Lupus. Jolie has been self-employed in the music industry for over 30 years, but for the past few years her health has deteriorated to the point where she has not been able to work. With no health insurance and no work, she has been financially struggling and physically suffering.
Our goal is to raise enough money for Jolie to go to a medical treatment center in June for several months where she can be monitored by doctors and begin to regain her health. In addition, we would also like to raise enough money to cover any additional medical expenses, legal fees, and also cover her basic living expenses for approximately one year while she waits to hear if she is granted Federal Disability by early 2014. All additional funds will be donated to LupusLA.
Jolie and I met when she worked on the first record I professionally recorded. I have always known Jolie to be kind, loving, and thoughtful. I asked Jolie to write a short excerpt about what she has been going through and this is what she wrote:
In 2007 I was diagnosed with Lupus by my HMO Doctor. Lupus is an auto-immune disorder that has many complications and affects everything in your body – physically and mentally. It is also difficult to diagnose because no two patients have the same symptoms as Lupus mimics many other diseases. The Doctor said at the time that I had “Baby Lupus” and so I wasn’t referred to a specialist. But eventually I became so ill that I couldn’t get out of bed.
I am fortunate to have worked as a freelancer in the music industry for over 30 years. However, my poor health prevented me from leaving home most days. I was also a Musician’s Union member from which I received health insurance. However, around 2008 my inability to work ended that benefit, leaving me un-insured.
Chronically sick with Lupus, and lacking income and insurance, I started going to a government sponsored health care clinic. After several months my Lupus was not only confirmed, but it had gotten worse.
Lupus requires the attention of many specialists, including a Rheumatologist, Neurologist, Gastroenterologist, Dermatologist, and more. Although I am very grateful for the care I get from the government system, the heavy workloads and inherent red tape delay the referrals to specialists that I so desperately need.
The passing of time has drained my savings. I received State disability for almost a year, and in 2012 I filed for Federal Disability, but it was denied for lack of sufficient documentation at the time. Working through the health care system, documentation is trickling in, and I am appealing the decision. I won’t get a court date until the end of 2013.
For over 5 years I have been battling this disease without proper care and no way to earn a living. I am truly grateful for any help I receive.
(Lupus has no cure, but can be managed with proper treatment and lifestyle changes.)”
If you feel like doing a good deed for the day, I’d like to encourage you to donate a few dollars. You can click through HERE.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, and are willing to make a sizable donation, please consider joining the relief effort by purchasing a ticked for a benefit concert this Friday (5/31/13) at Henson Recording Studios. Tickets are $150, but the list of performer is a who’s who of music history: Carnie and Wendy Wilson of Wilson Phillips, Dave Stewart, Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard, David PAck, Greg Phillinganes, and the list goes on. Tickets are available for purchase HERE.