Charles contracted Hepatitis-C in the early 1970s. Hepatitis-C is a virus that that can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. Due to the extensive damage that the virus had caused his liver and body over time, Charles was experiencing liver failure. His physicians placed him on the organ transplant waiting list.
During the Christmas and Hanukkah season of 2005, he received the gift of a lifetime—a donor had been found, and Charles underwent the transplant surgery that saved his life. Charles thrived after his transplant surgery and throughout his recuperation, even working on and releasing a new album with his working band, The Junkyard Angels. Titled Outside Looking In, the album was released in 2010.
Unfortunately, it was discovered that the Hepatitis-C virus that was still in his body had infected his donated liver. This was devastating news, but it’s not an uncommon occurrence.
There are treatments for Hepatitis-C that have incredible success rates for removing the virus completely from the body. With the support of his family and friends, Charles chose to begin this six-month long journey to wellness. However, as with most rainbows that the heavens arch down our way to Earth, there aren’t always pots of gold lying in wait at either end of them.
The medications required for Charles’ specialized treatment (Sovaldi and Ribavirin) are not only very expensive monetarily, but they also carry a heavy physiological tariff. Sovaldi costs the patient one-thousand dollars per pill, per day, and among many other unpleasant conditions, Ribavirin causes the patient gastrointestinal problems, fainting, memory loss, deep muscle and bone pain, anxiety, and situational depression.
The side effects of the medication and the illness itself have rendered Charles unable to work. In mid-2014, he was forced to close his business, and he has since been out of work. Although he is diligently working to gain disability benefits, the interim has left Charles with no income. Despite his having health insurance, medical co-payments and the day to day expenses all adult Americans have to face (namely--food, water, and shelter) have nearly depleted all of his savings.
Any two or three of the circumstances listed above are enough to send most of us shrinking into a darkness from which we’d scarcely know how to arise. True to his name, Lyonhart is facing all of it with courage that would quake the knees of the great and powerful Oz himself.
He cannot do it alone, but he won’t have to. The Universe to which Charles has gallantly given so much has conspired to give back to him.
On Sunday, June 21, 2015, the friends and musical family of Charles will come together for a very special evening of comfort, caring, fellowship, and love. The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY, will be the site for a benefit concert in his honor. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the concert beginning at 7:00 p.m. Golden Circle Tickets are $55.00, and remaining seats are $35.00.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Marc Black, who had the idea to do this benefit concert for me, and I’d like to extend my gratitude to the artists who jumped on board as soon as they heard about it,” said Lyonhart.
“I feel like I am in a dream,” he continued. “I am beyond grateful for having the support of friends like this. They are an irreplaceable extension of my family—a true gift to my life.”
Scheduled to perform are Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams; Tom Pacheco; Marc Black (with Eric Parker, Pete Levin, and Mike Esposito); Joel Diamond; Lincoln Schleifer; Brian Hollander; Marty Kupersmith; and George Quinn, with a few special surprises planned throughout the event, as well.
What better way to spend a Sunday evening than to enjoy some of the best musical minds of our area and generation and to give to one whom we all hold so dearly? We look forward to seeing you there.
For more information about organ donation, visit the U.S. Department and Health and Human Services website at http://www.organdonor.gov/index.html.
by Tracy E. Outlaw