After three years of symptoms, Drew Nelson was diagnosed with esophageal achalasia in April. Achalasia is an uncommon swallowing disorder that affects about 10 in a million people. While the cause of achalasia is unclear, it can be described as a degeneration of nerves on the esophagus and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES fails to relax and peristalsis (the muscle movement of the esophagus that moves food toward the stomach) fails. This leads to symptoms such as an inability to swallow food, severe chest pain, chronic coughing, sleeplessness due to choking when prone, heartburn, frequent vomiting, and weight loss.
Although Drew will always have achalasia, he was able to treat it with a major surgery in May. The surgery was successful and Drew is able to eat normally but will need to maintain his condition with yearly endoscopies and checkups. Although Drew fortunately had insurance to cover the bulk of the surgical bills, he was left with a very large copay. Additionally, Drew lost a substantial amount of income due to his having to cancel multiple shows in order to have the surgery completed and to accommodate a recovery period. As we all know, musicians don’t get sick days so Drew is challenged with decreased income and new debt.
In order to help support our friend Drew, you may donate by clicking the “Donation” button and choosing the amount you would like to donate.
If you prefer to attend a benefit, the Central Michigan Chapter of the NSAI (Nashville Songwriter’s Association International) will host a benefit on Sunday, October 27 at the Lansing VFW Hall, Post 6132, at 3104 W. St. Joseph Ave., Lansing, MI 48917 from 1pm to 10pm. The event will feature music by many of Drew’s friends, as well as Drew Nelson and Highway 2. Food and beverages will be available. Performers include Dave Boutette, Jen Sygit, Drew Howard, J Oscar Bittinger, Bob Hauser, Robin Montoresso, Hillbilly and The City Boys, Jamie Sue Seal, John Latini, Drew Nelson and Highway 2, and many many more.