Independent touring musicians typically think about costs associated with lodging, van repairs, and replacing an old blown out amp. While a touring life doesn’t always coincide with the healthiest of lifestyles, the thought of budgeting for proper healthcare is often placed on the back burner–that is until it turns into a screaming tea kettle that can no longer be ignored.
Such was the case for Brown Bird‘s Dave Lamb, who was diagnosed with Leukemia last year while on tour promoting the band’s most recent album, “Fits of Reason.” It was at a show in Houston when the fatigue was so insurmountable that he was rushed to the emergency room. The diagnosis was shocking, as was the aftermath of medical bills that piled up for this uninsured musician.
With the tour cancelled, and no income in sight, Lamb set up a crowd-funding campaign on YouCaring to help offset the growing medical expenses. The response was overwhelming, and Lamb was able to raise over $60,000. As he continues treatment along the long road to recovery, Lamb is speaking out to other uninsured artists about the importance of finding coverage.
“It’s important to be informed about your health care options because the costs may be more manageable than you might otherwise have thought,” Lamb said. “I want to encourage others to understand the importance of having health insurance when you’re suddenly faced with a very serious illness.”
Lamb, along with bandmate MorganEve Swain, recently teamed up with HeadCount–a nonprofit organization that works with musicians and fans to help promote participation in democracy. While HeadCount typically focuses on voter registration, the organization is now working directly with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to assist musicians seeking information about health insurance. They are also helping musicians like Lamb tell their stories.