On July 10th, 2022, just 6 days before her biggest concert ever, and 2 days after the release of her first album, our niece and daughter, singer/songwriter Emily Clark suffered from debilitating pain in her jaw and face. After going to the emergency room and being sent home with ibuprofen, the pain would not recede and her primary doctor sent her for an emergency MRI and to see a neurologist. She was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm and an extreme case of Trigeminal Neuralgia on July 14th.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is sometimes described as the most excruciating pain known in medicine today and causes intense, stabbing, electric shock-like pain which is caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve, a nerve that sends branches to the forehead, cheek, and lower jaw. Most people who develop Trigeminal Neuralgia have it firing in two of these nerve branches during an episode, and Emily has all seven firing at once. An action as routine and minor as brushing your teeth, eating, or even the wind can trigger an attack and immobilize the person who suffers from it. Needless to say, a singing career is a long shot for someone experiencing these unpredictable episodes.
The neurologists prescribed anti-convulsive medications to her and she was able to perform that weekend, but since then, in spite of increasing the dosage, her attacks have worsened and side effects from the medication have become more severe. Her doctors in Montana referred her to a neurosurgeon at the University of Washington who performed a barrage of tests and due to the severity of her case suggested she have brain surgery to treat the compression of the nerve.
Her surgery is scheduled for Dec 2nd, 2022. It will be six weeks to two months before she is able to work at her job or lift more than 10-15 lbs, not to mention continue to develop her musical career, travel to perform, promote her album and follow her dreams. She has worked so hard on her singing career over the last 10 years; working her way up from low-paying gigs, singing backup with other musicians, networking, hustling, promoting, songwriting, practicing with her band, paying her band instead of herself, hosting concerts, and contributing her funds and time to her musical community. She finished recording the main tracks of her album on March 15, 2020, just 5 days before the pandemic shut everything down and put further production on hold. In spite of that, this summer it seemed like all of that was just starting to pay off.
Aside from any uncovered costs associated with the surgery, hospital stay, and paying for a place to stay near the hospital in Seattle for 12-days of outpatient observation, Emily is facing two months with no income or way to pay her monthly expenses as she recovers.
While we are still unsure of her medical costs and what is covered by her insurance, we estimate she will need at least $7500 to cover rent, food, travel, lodging, and other miscellaneous expenses in order to make it through this without falling too far behind on what she has worked so hard to build for herself.
Thank you so much for reading this far and considering a donation to help a wonderful human being overcome hardship!
Kate O'Brien (Auntie) & Amanda Wray (Mom)