Thanks to everyone who has contributed to my fund-raising campaign.
BONUS: Everyone who has pledged $5 or more will ALSO receive a FREE DOWNLOAD of my forthcoming "Richard Cheese: The Royal Baby Album" in July!
The last day to contribute is March 31. Thank you again for your support.
My name is Mark Jonathan Davis. I portray the lounge singer Richard Cheese.
You might also know me as Johnny Aloha, as Bob Hope and Paul The 55-Year-Old Intern on KROQ, and from my "Star Wars Cantina" parody song.
I need a corneal transplant operation.
I was born with deformed corneas. I've been able to get by with glasses and contact lenses until recently. Now, my left eye's cornea has failed and I can barely see.
So, I'm unable to drive at night, I can't read street signs or ingredient labels, and sometimes I can barely walk down a flight of stairs because of my poor depth perception. Life is a blur (see photo above).
Fortunately, a corneal transplant will restore my vision.
Unfortunately, the operation will cost $21,000.
I don't have health insurance, because no insurance company would accept me with this pre-existing eye condition.
For the last few years, I've been saving up money to pay for the surgery.
But, then, in July 2012, I had to have a different surgery...! I was diagnosed with a blocked blood vessel in my abdomen, so I had to have an operation to repair that. AND THEN, in February 2013, I had to have ANOTHER surgery, this time for a HERNIA!!
So, in the last six months, I've had to spend $22,000 out of my own pocket for those two surgeries, plus all the doctors, labs, and exams in between.
That wiped out my cornea transplant savings.
Meanwhile, because of those medical problems, I haven't been able to work for 9 of the last 12 months. I had to cancel a bunch of our Richard Cheese tour dates in 2012 because of the blood vessel, and in 2013 because of the hernia. While I'm recovering from that hernia surgery, I can't start touring again until June 2013.
So right now, my eye is at the end of my rope.
Eye Need Your Help
Today, I'm using Indiegogo to try to raise $19,500 to help cover my medical bills and pay for the corneal transplant surgery, which I hope to have later this year.
I'm NOT asking for charity; I really just need more customers for my CDs and books so I can generate some revenue and pay off my debt.
So, if you click "Contribute Now," you can make a donation. Or, you can contribute more and get some of my CDs and other merchandise in return for your generosity.
As you know, I am an independent artist; I don't have a big record label funding me. I pay for all of our recording costs out of my own pocket, but music piracy has really wiped out my CD sales.
I've been living hand-to-mouth for the last few years, and getting by...
...but these medical bills really knocked me down.
So, I set up this fund-raising campaign to bring my friends and fans together to help me reach this goal before March 31. Asking for financial support from anyone is very difficult for me, but I don't know what else to do.
Please help if you can. I just want to pay my medical bills, get my vision fixed, and get back to work.
I hope you will please tell your friends and share this page.
Thank you from the bottom of my eye.
[Sorry about all the different font sizes; I blame my iris.]
P.S. Please consider becoming an organ donor when you renew your driver's license, so that in the future, people like me who need a new cornea can get one faster.
Why am I having this operation?
Can't I just get Lasik or wear glasses/contacts?
What is a "eye"?
Keratoconus is a hereditary condition, and it's affected me since childhood. Each of my corneas has slowly weakened into a non-spherical shape, blurring the vision in the eye and making traditional glasses useless and contact lenses unwearable.
My right eye hasn't deteriorated too much, but my left eye is a disaster. My left eye's vision is currently 20/70, and it has gotten so bad that installing an entirely new cornea is the only way to regain clear vision.
During this surgery, I will be anesthetized, and my warped cornea will be sliced out using a "femtolaser" that acts sort of like a cookie-cutter. A healthy new cornea (from a cadaver!) will be inserted into the space, and then stitches will be used to suture it in place. Afterward, I'll be wearing an eyepatch for a while, and the stitches will remain in the eye for several months, as my eye gets accustomed to the new tissue.
Once the stitches are removed and the new cornea is settled in, within a year, I should be able to wear a contact lens on it, and hopefully, achieve 20/20 vision in the left eye.
I've had to postpone this corneal transplant operation several times over the last few years, mostly for financial reasons. I hope that I can finally get it done in 2013.
Please Note: the new Affordable Care Act does offer insurance options for individuals with pre-existing conditions, but that doesn't take full effect until mid-2014. Right now, the premium for me would be $2400/month.
We will contact you in April/May 2013 to obtain your address and other information. Make sure your email address is current.
All items will be sent in one shipment. Any shipment containing the "Atlas Lounged" book will be sent in May 2014. See www.atlaslounged.com for book info.
For orders outside the 50 United States, an additional $9 international shipping charge is required. Please add this amount to your pledge. Or, if you've already pledged, return to the campaign and select the $9 "Add-On Shipping" pledge. Be sure to pay that with the same name/account you used for your original pledge. [It says $9.99 but it should say $9.]
If you'd like to purchase any item and receive it sooner, all items are available for sale at www.loungemart.com .