Primus frontman Les Claypool‘s recent auction of a prototype of one of his personal basses wound up selling for $50,599.99 USD. Proceeds from the auction went to Claypool‘s ailing two year old nephew, who suffers from a rare form of infant leukemia.
Claypool thanked fans for their support in the auction while also sharing a letter from the tot’s mother, Aimee. You can read all that below. Meanwhile, donations can be made over at Babymatthew.org.
“Those of you who followed the progress of the auction of one of my main Pachyderm basses on eBay last week for my little nephew who is fighting infant leukemia will, I assume, be equally as surprised as myself to see that the auction ended with a whopping $50,599.00. The amount of interest and support received on this instrument has been incredibly heartwarming, humbling and eye opening. I cannot begin to thank enough everyone who stepped up to bid or to raise the profile of this online event.
Many revelations were had during the progress of this auction. One was that, because of the great expense of Matthew’s treatment, no amount was really going to cover the cost nor was it going to solve the problem. But the event itself, the daily watching of the bids pour in had been an incredibly positive experience and joyful distraction for my Bro and his family who ride the emotional roller coaster of watching their child suffer on a daily basis.
Another revelation has been seeing other families who have children in similar situations gain hope that some profile has been raised to an affliction that few really know about or understand. I’ve noticed myself, as has my Bro, the response many people have when they hear of Matthew; “Leukemia? Well, they have come a long way with childhood leukemia”, is a sentence that my Brother and his family hear often, in fact when I first told my doc about Matthew he said the exact same thing.
These encouraging words, which are meant to comfort, are accurate. Childhood leukemia has a high cure rate; around 70% I’m told. But, what few realize is that “Refractory Infants Leukemia”, which is what Matthew has, at this point has a 100% fatality rate. Many times over the years babies die of this disease and it is thought to be SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) because the organs fail before any diagnosis of leukemia can be made.
Matthew was diagnosed at 2 months of age because his blood was tested when he was having trouble fighting a respiratory infection. Babies generally aren’t blood tested at birth, because of the high expense, so often these cases go unnoticed until it is too late and the organs are too severely damaged. (Being that I see folks now a days spending upwards of $1200 on a combo stroller/car seat, it may be a prudent shower gift to have everyone chip in on a “birthday-blood-test” for an impending bundle of joy. If not for anything but giving some peace of mind to those freshly neurotic first parents that many of us will become at some point and time).
Because Refractory Infants Leukemia is so rare and the treatment is cutting edge and very experimental, my brother has likened their situation and the few others they know as being on an island alone dealing with something that nobody really knows too much about and quite frankly, don’t want to know about. I know myself that when the commercials for St. Jude’s Hospital used to come on the TV I had to switch channels. Not because I did not care but because the thought of children suffering, especially when you are a parent trying to dodge the various dangers of life for your own little shavers, is too overwhelming to even think about.
Unfortunately, this affliction is on the rise and something in our environment is triggering it. Back when I was busting tires for a living, we were breathing large amounts of brake dust long after science had come to the conclusion that, “hey, this asbestos stuff isn’t good for folks”. For decades my father and uncles practically bathed in chemicals while working as mechanics that now, by law, are outlawed or need to be handled with protective gloves and garments.
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