This is going to be a little different than my usual art and/or poetry posts (although I did include some mail art above that I worked on this weekend!):
At the beginning of September a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Tiran and I have been friends for over 25 years. We grew up together, went to college together and although our lives and careers took us different places all over the country, somehow we have ended up in the San Diego area together in the last couple years and it has been wonderful to reconnect.
Befitting the word “acute” in the name, the timeline of his illness went like this: I spoke with him one Sunday by phone and everything was fine – he was healthy, going to work the next day, and we had a good conversation – by the following Sunday, he called me to tell me he was in the ICU. He could barely breathe and his prognosis was dire. He was calling to say goodbye in case he was unable to have that conversation later. I was floored by how fast this leveled him and left him near death. It was another shock in a year of shocks. And we have 88 days left in 2020 for more to
go wrong happen!
Luckily, he was able to start treatment and he moved out of the ICU after a few days. His prognosis is improved as of now. But he is still battling AML in the shadow of COVID-19. He is unable to have any visitors at all and the hospital is a very lonely place in the best of times. He has no immune system to speak of in a time and place all we can think of is our immune systems.
Despite this – despite having their lives blown apart by AML and on top of the disruptions and job losses caused by COVID – my friend and his partner have responded in a really positive way. They have organized a benefit livestream to raise money for the San Diego Blood Bank and the Leukemia and Lymphoma society in Tiran’s honor. Tiran’s partner is a local DJ who spins gothic and industrial music under the name DJ Wyntre Mysteria and he has organized DJs from around the world to play for this benefit that will livestream on Twitch for 29 continuous hours, on October 8th and 9th.
Now, maybe gothic and industrial music is not your jam and maybe you aren’t sure about this whole Twitch thing (isn’t it just for people playing videogames? you ask. I thought the same thing – but no! I just recently learned there is a whole live music/DJ culture on there), but I hope you will check it out. You don’t need an account to tune in and you can join at any time during the 29 hours from the comfort of your home and time zone. You never know, you may discover something new – a new DJ or song or even genre of music. Even if you aren’t able to donate (and lord knows times are tough for people), having folks tune in is encouragement too.
In a time when everyone seems to be circling the wagons, I’ve been heartened that my friends’ response to their own tragedy has been to reach out and help others. It is a breath of fresh air in these stifling times.
Information on the event provided by DJ Wyntre Mysteria is below. The link to the livestream on Twitch is: twitch.tv/djwyntremysteria
He can also be found on Instagram: @wyntremysteria
Please stay safe and well (I don’t need any more surprises in 2020)!