SHELBURNE, N.S. – Support is pouring in for a GoFundMe campaign set up in the wake of devastating news that is rocking the Nova Scotia music scene and beyond.
Robbie Smith, half of the harmonizing folk duo Naming the Twins, was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with stage 4 incurable cancer in late December.
"It is with profound sadness that we accept the diagnosis of stage 4, incurable cancer,” wrote his singing partner Kathleen Glauser in a Facebook post.
“HCC is hepatocellular carcinoma, a rare type of liver cancer usually found in people with liver disease. Many of you know that for years Robbie has lived with primary biliary cirrhosis with his main symptom being extreme fatigue. The cancer has spread to his lung and his spinal column and up into the vena cava, which is the main vein that takes the blood from the liver up into the heart,” wrote Glauser. “Due to restricted blood flow there is now a blood clot in the vena cava just outside his heart. It has been heart wrenching to watch Robbie struggle with so much pain as the nurses worked with the doctors to get the medications where they needed to be."
Smith and Glauser had just released a new CD, Singing the Winter Away, and were scheduled to start a 26-date tour through the United States, beginning Jan. 10. The tour was cancelled.
A GoFundMe fundraising campaign is underway to help Smith and Glauser. Organized by Nicole Colbeck, music manager at Little Acorn Music, just over $15,000 had been raised in the first week.
“We’re pretty floored at the amount of support we’re getting,” said Colbeck in an interview. “It’s coming from everywhere, from the U.K., the U.S.,” with notes of support with each donation, she said.
Colbeck said “other than just being good friends,” she has worked with both Robbie and Kathleen during their careers on various projects. The two multi-talented musical artists have been together as Naming the Twins since 2007.
Their just-released CD, Singing the Winter Away, features “a fresh selection of all-original winter/Christmas songs” that the Twins spent a year writing, arranging, harmonizing and recording.
“In both of our hearts we regard this as a once in a lifetime project – with attention to every detail. We’re relaying many positive messages in the lyrics and we hope they will reach you wherever you may be,” reads the CD jacket.
“One thing we’re doing is making sure this one-in-a-lifetime project actually gets heard,” said Colbeck.
With every $40 donation to the GoFundMe campaign, donors will receive a copy of the CD by mail.
The purpose of the GoFundMe Campaign is two-fold.
With the tour to promote the new CD, the cost of applying for a U.S. work visa, as well as the recording, production, manufacturing and publicity associated with the CD – and the anticipated CD sales at the now-cancelled shows gone – “We are hoping to help Robbie and Kathleen now, by shoring them up financially to compensate for this great financial blow,” said Colbeck. “The contributions gathered through this campaign will help to support the Twins as they navigate this urgently difficult time.”
Funds raised will also go towards helping to cover costs, whether associated with Smith's end-of-life care, including final rent and utilities, as well as the management and relegation of his estate, or with a long recovery process, said Colbeck.
“We’re really grateful for the support that everyone has shown this campaign and how they’ve really rallied around Kathleen and Robbie at this time,” said Colbeck. “We’re grateful for the people working behind the scenes, sending CDs or accepting donations or whatever each person is doing. We’re just grateful people are putting their trust in us.”
Donations are also being accepted at the CIBC in an account that has been set up on Smith’s behalf. Email [email protected] for necessary details.
Copies of the new CD can also be purchased on the Twins’ website.
“You can’t live without love and you can’t live without music. So, play a Robbie song, donate as you are able, or buy a CD – thanks for doing your part,” reads Naming the Twins website.