A personal note from Gail…..

Dear Belly family,

Unfortunately, as far too many of us know, cancer never comes at a
good time. Last April, in the middle of rehearsals for Belly’s 2016
reunion tour, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Shows had been
booked, advance tickets sold, and complicated travel and logistical
arrangements were already in place–not just for the band, but for all
of you making plans to travel to see us. As you can imagine, it was a
huge “oh, shit…” moment.

I am blessed to be working with the dearest of friends in Belly, and
my bandmates fully supported me in weighing every option and in every
decision I had to make, including serious consideration of cancelling
and rescheduling tour dates. My oncology team at Women & Infants
Hospital (Belly fans!) actually encouraged me to go on tour and
continue life as normally as possible, and worked my treatment
schedule around each leg of the tour. I had surgery six weeks before
we kicked things off with our ‘secret’ gig in Newport and then headed
to the UK. I had my first chemotherapy treatment ten hours after
flying back from our show in Dublin. Throughout chemo, my Belly
compatriots patiently awaited my word on how I was feeling after each
round and to see if the next leg of the tour would proceed, putting my
health and my needs above all else. They have been incredible. And we
did it–not a single cancelled or rescheduled show! LOVE to you, Tom,
Chris and Tanya.

Though I prefer to keep health issues private, with the impending
threat of repeal of the ACA (Affordable Care Act, or ‘Obamacare’), I
feel I cannot remain silent. Thanks to the ACA, many independent
artists, musicians, freelancers and small business owners, such as my
partner, Chil, and myself, and millions of low-income Americans have
access to health insurance and medical care. Chil and I have been with
the program since its inception, buying our health insurance through
Rhode Island’s excellent exchange. This is not my first ride at the
cancer rodeo, and without the provisions of the ACA (such as
prohibiting the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and
outlawing yearly and lifetime caps) I would’ve had a very difficult
time getting the treatment I needed. I can literally say that
Obamacare has saved my life twice (so far….)!

Now, as a recent graduate of ‘Team Chemo’, I want to personally thank
all of you for helping me get through the summer and fall portion of
my treatment. Even though you may not have known all that was going on
(or at least had the grace not to call me out on the suspicious
assorted vegan-roadkill strapped on my head while on stage!), the joy
you shared with the four of us on stage was pure unicorn dust, with a
healing power no FDA-approved medicine can touch! You all helped me
get through this and I can’t wait to see you again in 2017!

Love,
Gail

#coveragematters #aca

…….an example of what pure, shared joy at a Belly gig looks like!

PS: Special thanks to next-generation Belly-baby bass-player Indi Rose! Hearing that I inspired you to go for the bass inspired me and gave me an extra potent shot-in-the-arm when I needed it!

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