Friends of Mark Kieswetter have launched a GoFundMe campaign to support the Canadian musician as he suffers from terminal cancer.
As a pianist, Kieswetter has performed alongside jazz greats including Zoot Sims, Jack Sheldon and James Moody. For several years, he was the musical director for the legendary Jon Hendricks, working with him to develop the large vocal ensemble Vocalstraâ. Kieswetter has performed on many recordings, including Juno-nominated albums by Emilie-Claire Barlow and Harry Manx, and he has served as the music director on albums by Ilana Waldston, Whitney Ross-Barris, and more.
In December of 2016, Kieswetter was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroendocrine cancer. The diagnosis also included a rare side effect called cerebellar ataxia, which severely affects the part of the brain that controls balance, motor control, coordination and sensory systems. As a result, Kieswetter can no longer play the piano, nor walk or stand unaided.
For several years, Kieswetter was able to continue to work and share his musical gifts by teaching, composing, and arranging. But now, the physical obstacles are too severe.
The Toronto jazz community came together in 2017 to support Kieswetter shortly after his diagnosis. Now, as his condition has worsened, vocalists Heather Bambrick and Ilana Waldston launched a GoFundMe to raise money in order to help cover his living expenses.
“If you’ve ever been in the audience for one of Mark’s shows … if you’ve enjoyed hearing his work on various recordings … if you’re a musician who’s benefitted from the incredible artistry that Mark has brought to your work … if you have ever attended a worship service at St. Philip’s Lutheran Church that was made extra special thanks to Mark’s music … or if you’re just a good soul who wants to play a small part in helping another good soul … we hope you’ll contribute whatever you can to this GoFundMe page to help Mark,” the fundraiser reads.
The organizers hope to raise $30,000 in donations. Visit the GoFundMe campaign here.