Meet Bernie Dalton, my voice student and friend. He doesn’t have much time left. Bernie is currently in a nursing home, separated from his community of support, where he is struggling emotionally and physically. We need to bring Bernie home to his loved ones to spend the time he does have left with his family and friends. To do this, we need to pay for home care, which is extremely expensive. Home Care Assistance has graciously donated $5,000 of services towards home care, which gives us a big boost, but we'll need nearly $300,000 to make sure Bernie is well taken care of. Now, we need your help to pay for the rest, so Bernie can live the remainder of his time with dignity!
My name is Essence Goldman and I am a singer/songwriter and voice coach. Bernie and my story began 2 years ago. Bernie is a down-to-earth, kind hearted, devoted single father to a beautiful 16 year old daughter named Nicole. When I first met Bernie, he was a dedicated surfer who had a passion for music and writing songs. In 2016, Bernie reached out to me for voice lessons. Bernie showed up to each lesson filled with inspiration, songs to share, and was eager to learn healthy vocal techniques to expand his range and build his confidence as a singer. Two months after starting voice lessons, Bernie’s voice mysteriously disappeared. We could not figure out why. Bernie saw a neurologist, and after a series of tests, he was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of ALS - Bulbar Onset (Lou Gehrig's Disease). The life expectancy for people with Bulbar onset ALS is 1-3 years. Bernie was shocked and devastated. He was only 47.
I wanted to help raise money so Bernie could take his daughter on a trip while he still could, but Bernie had a different idea. Bernie wanted to make a record of his songs. He wanted to leave a musical legacy for his future grandchildren that he would likely not live long enough to meet. He wanted them to know who he is, he wanted them to know his views of the world, and convey his advice for living in the lyrics he wrote. We launched a Go Fund Me campaign, and the outpour of love and support from family and friends made it possible for us to record an album of Bernie’s songs.
Bernie had a vision, but since ALS had already robbed of him of his ability to speak or sing, he asked me to be his voice. In the early recording sessions, Bernie was able to walk and he even drove himself to the studio in his pickup truck. He was able to sit with us in the studio and give feedback using hand signals and write notes on a dry erase board to indicate his approval or disapproval of what we were playing. I will tell you this: two thumbs up from someone who can't speak means a lot. But due of the aggressiveness of the disease, in 6 short months Bernie lost the ability to walk, move his arms, swallow, and travel, and we had to share our final recordings with him in the nursing home. Bernie’s album, “Connection,” is now complete and will be released with the band name Bernie and The Believers.
Now that the album is finished, our goal has changed.
Bernie is currently living in a nursing home because his family cannot afford the costs of home care. There have been numerous reports of Bernie not receiving proper care. The type of care Bernie requires is mind bogglingly expensive. ($12,000 per week!) Bernie is struggling, both physically and emotionally at the nursing home and desperately wants to be home with his family, enjoying the time he has left with his loved ones.
Throughout his life, Bernie has touched many people with his kindness, humor and generous spirit. Now, he deserves to be given proper medical care and he deserves to spend his remaining days in the peace of his own home, surrounded by loving friends and family. We are launching a brand new campaign to raise funds for Bernie’s end of life care. The support of the community has helped Bernie's dream of making an amazing record come true, but now he needs us more than ever. Nothing is more important to us than bringing Bernie home for his final days. We believe it is possible that with the help of friends, family, community, and beyond, we can share Bernie’s story far and wide and raise the money needed for Bernie’s home care. Please give what you can today, and share Bernie’s story wherever you can. Help Bernie get the proper care that he deserves. You can make the difference and give Bernie dignity and peace in his remaining days.
Let’s show Bernie our love.
- Kenneth Easton
- Joe Rowley
- Debby Reynolds
Organizer and beneficiary
San Francisco, CA