Please help Mike Miller with his upcoming medical expenses!

For: Michael R. Miller
Urbana, IL
Organizer: Todd Lindsey
Please help Mike Miller with his upcoming medical expenses! (Michael R. Miller)
$23,036
of $100,000 goal.
Raised by 179 donors
23% Complete

The Story

Please consider helping our friend, Mike Miller, if you can in any way...he's got a long road ahead and needs our help! I'm his manager in our band, The Boat Drunks, but I consider him my friend first and will gladly spearhead this effort. I'll let Mike explain his situation below. Thank you all in advance for anything you can do.

Todd Lindsey

From Mike:

Hello Friends,

I’m going to try to make a very complicated and complex situation as understandable as I know how to in as few words as possible.

Those of you who are close friends of mine are aware that I have a blood disorder called Polycythemia Vera and that I have been receiving low-dose chemotherapy to manage this condition since 2009. For the most part, I have tolerated this treatment well.
Over the last few months I have been noticing that I have been getting more and more easily winded and just generally feeling run down. On April 14th, I was able to make contact with my hematologist back in Charleston, SC and he sent orders for me to undergo testing locally and have the results sent to him. I did this on Monday, the 17th of April and the testing showed that I was in extreme distress and was immediately hospitalized and given a transfusion.

The following day, I had a bone marrow biopsy performed (editor’s note, if anyone ever offers to give you one of those just for fun, I would take a pass…) Today, my local hematologist went over the results with me. I’ll try to condense this down as best as I can:

I have Myelodysplastic Syndrome or MDS for short. This was brought on by my underlying blood disorder. The medical field of study that deals with this sort of thing, rates the individual cases based on a scoring system called the IPSS-R. It stands for International Prognostic Scoring System (Revised). My particular case falls between the “High Risk” and “Very High Risk,” which as I’m sure you might suspect are the two worst possible scores.

The only curative treatment that offers any chance of long-term survival is an Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant which, if it happens will be months down the road. Let’s just say that there are lots of hurdles to clear, not the least of which is my being uninsured.

Over the next several months, my doctor plans to monitor my blood counts weekly and to try to keep my numbers at an acceptable level through what is called “supportive care.” It is my intention, during that time, to do my best to honor all performing commitments. In the mean time, I would appreciate your prayers and support.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 15, 2017

Posted on August 15, 2017

Hey all, below is a very thorough and positive update from Sgt. Mikey. It's been a wild ride this summer and the band and I are happy to have been there for all of it. Keep those donations and positive thoughts coming!

Todd



OK Gang.... The last update I did was in June, so I guess I'm long overdue. There are a lot of things going on right now so I'm going to try to get to everything while I'm here.

This does not come easily to me as I'm unaccustomed to sharing details of my life and my innermost thoughts on Facebook. Most of my postings have to do with Boat Drunks shows and such. But I feel that I owe you all the courtesy of keeping you up to date since so many of you are doing such wonderful and generous things on my behalf. So here goes:

A.) My Overall Health.

When people talk about something being an "emotional roller coaster," I can really relate to that analogy now more than ever before. Back in late May and early June, I was really having a physical low. At one point, I had to undergo 3 transfusions in 5 days and still, they were not able to keep my hemoglobin much above six. Without getting all technical on you, that means I had virtually no energy, my heart was constantly racing, I had trouble concentrating, my hands were mostly numb, (which did not help my already mediocre guitar playing much I can tell you that) and my outlook was pretty grim.

When I left town for a week to play "Meet Me in the Keys" in Key West and "Phins to the West" in Mesquite, NV, I was still feeling pretty run down and I had doubts about whether I could get through the trip. Luckily for me, that's when the shots that they had been giving me for several weeks started to work. When they began, the doctor told me that they worked in about 50% of the people that they're given to.

As of now, my blood numbers have been back in normal range for several weeks. I am feeling very good right now physically. The doctors have made it clear that this is temporary and they don't know how long my diseased bone marrow will keep responding. Right now, I'm just grateful for every day that I wake up feeling good.

2.) Prospects for a Transplant.

I went to the Mayo Clinic and had a lengthy consultation with a really knowledgeable and awesome doctor. I learned a lot from speaking to him. Some of it reassuring, some of it not so, but all of it valuable. The upshot of that visit, however, was that they were not going to accept me into their "charity" program since I am not a Minnesota resident.

I did get some very encouraging news this week from the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD. As I mentioned in my June update, I am being considered for a clinical trial there that is studying a type of transplant using peripheral T-Cells that have been treated with two drugs that increase their potency. It's still experimental but seems sound and worth the risk.

A few days ago, I was officially invited to Bethesda in September to undergo a week of testing. Depending on the results of those tests, I may be allowed to participate in the trial. They are satisfied that they have a match for me in the donor database, so that hurdle seems to have been cleared. I should have a firm answer about my status by the end of October.

(and)

C.) All of You.

I have been familiar with the love and generosity of the Parrot Head Community for many years. This is, however, the first experience I have had with being on the receiving end of all of these efforts. So many of you are going to extreme lengths to help me and I'm just so overwhelmed by it all that I really don't know what to say.

A part of me feels particularly unworthy of all of this love and generosity. I'm just a singer songwriter who has been fortunate enough to have written some songs that people seem to like. I'm a flawed human being like everybody else and I don't feel like I've done anything to warrant all of this love and attention. Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful to all of you that I can't even begin to adequately express it, but I can't help thinking about it all.

Whether I make it into this trial or not. Whether I survive this trial or not. I will always be grateful for the love and support that my friends, fans and fellow musicians have shown me, especially during the last four months. And I make this promise to all of you. If I survive this ordeal and have my health restored, I will do as much as I can to pay it back in any way that I can. I will try to live up to all of this.

I love you all!

Mike

Posted on July 28, 2017

Posted on July 28, 2017

Hello friends,

As summer clicks along, I've been remiss in updating everyone on your efforts, my apologies. Since I posted last about the amazing July 3rd fundraiser, money continues to roll in and sometimes literally gets stuffed in my pockets at gigs, parties or wherever I am. For that, I am forever grateful to all of you...donations that have come in via check and cash and not reported on this site have increased our total funds raised (and go straight to Mike's Medical Fund account) to over $55,000 and counting. These donations are from ParrotHead clubs all over the country that hold events for Mike, fans that just want to write a check, musicians that designate their tip jars for the night to all go to Mike and individuals that design/craft something to sell with proceeds going to Mike. It's truly an amazing thing for me to see unfold on an almost-daily basis.

As a lot of you have seen via Facebook or in person recently, Mike currently is doing better than most of the rest of us are! The care and treatment he is receiving right now has boosted his numbers and his spirits to very high levels. The doctors are amazed at how he's doing being as ill as he is, but they don't really know him like we do, huh? :) He continues to seek the next step and a path towards a solution, but for now, the band is in the middle of a very busy stretch of fun gigs and he's doing very well. Come out and see us soon!

The best to all of you...keep praying, sharing and giving what you can. Thanks...

Todd

Posted on July 7, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on July 7, 2017

It is my pleasure to announce the total from Michael R. Miller's benefit on Monday night at The City Center in Champaign: $18,483. That's an absolutely amazing amount for a one night event that was supposed to be a keep-it-simple fundraiser. Donations and people came from far and wide that night...and as important, so did the swab donations for possible bone marrow matches. From me to all of you (and there were a lot of you's) that were a part of this: thank you, thank you...

Todd

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