Send Bernie Home

$88,064 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 1,585 people in 5 months
Created January 17, 2018

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.

With gratitude,
Essence Goldman
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Dear Friends, I’m sitting here stunned with tear streaked cheeks trying to remember how this all happened. The San Francisco Chronicle published an epic feature on Bernie and The Believers yesterday! (See link below) Brilliantly and beautifully written by Aidin Vaziri, it includes a deeply moving 12 minute video documentary created by Manjula Varghese, with photos by Guy Wathen, I was brought to tears many, many times, reading/viewing. This is a good example here of life happening when you’re busy making plans. Deep thanks to the magical music makers who made this record possible: Roger Rocha, Daniel Berkman, David Simon-Baker, Erma Kyriakos. And thank you to the people who believed from the start and keep believing: Mike Regan, John Cuniberti, Craig Morton, Elaine King Elaine King Mossner, Perry Serpa, Karin Conn, Lena Dalton Lena Dalton Sutcliffe, Lisa Wilson, Karen Koons Karen Koons Thomas, Bob Laul, Laura Santos, Steve Adams, Howard Sapper for giving me the courage to persist.. And thank you to the thousands of people who contributed from far and wide, and those who continue giving. Wow. Wow. Wow. The universe blessed me by bringing Bernie Dalton into my life. #Believe

https://www.sfchronicle.com/entertainment/article/How-a-grim-ALS-diagnosis-created-beautiful-music-12897983.php#photo-15522963
SF Chronicle Feature & Documentary!
SF Chronicle Feature & Documentary!
SF Chronicle Feature & Documentary!
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Dear Friends,

It's been an exciting few weeks and we are thrilled to tell you NPR "All Things Considered" as well as NPR's "All Songs Considered" ran spectacular features on Bernie And The Believer's new album "Connection" and the story behind the music. We are so proud to share this with you.

Listen to the "All Things Considered" feature here: https://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2018/04/19/603304818/after-getting-lou-gehrigs-diagnosis-california-man-makes-album-with-help-of-frie

Listen to the "All Songs Considered" feature here:
https://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2018/04/03/598875983/new-mix-young-fathers-confidence-man-a-stunning-tiny-desk-contest-entry-more

Edited clips can be found directly on the homepage of our website: www.BernieAndTheBelievers.com

We have a limited number of signed (and in Bernie's case thumb printed) CD's available. You can order them directly on the website:
www.BernieAndTheBelievers.com

We never thought this project would get this much love and attention. Each and every donation and email has moved us deeply and we will be doing our best to respond to them all in the coming weeks.

Your support has been lighting the way for Bernie. Instead of focusing on his illness, Bernie is inspired, present, and looking ahead . Thank you for believing in Bernie and the great healing power of music.

xoxo
essence, Bernie And The Believers
#BELIEVE

Bernie on NPR's All Things Considered!
Bernie on NPR's All Songs Considered!
Bernie on NPR's All Songs Considered!
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Holy smokes!! Dear Friends, we: Bernie & The Believers (Roger Rocha, Bernie Dalton, Daniel Berkman, David Simon-Baker, Adrienne Biggs and I) have some exciting news to share! Bob Boilen of NPR Tiny Desk contacted me yesterday and was deeply moved by the Bernie project. He saw the video we submitted for the Tiny Desk Contest. We had a lengthy conversation on the phone. Bob Boilen featured the music and Bernie's story on NPR's All Songs Considered TODAY!! You can listen at the link below- click on the top story and scroll down the page. The featured song is ‘Unusual Boy.’ NPR also posted the video!! Bernie is over the moon. I’m walking on clouds.

Heartfelt thanks to you all for your support on this journey. Every donation, every email, every comment, every share, every like, every prayer made this possible.

Bernie & The Believers Featured on NPR All Songs Considered - Listen here:

https://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2018/04/03/598875983/new-mix-young-fathers-confidence-man-a-stunning-tiny-desk-contest-entry-more

This could not have happened without you. We can't wait to share this music with all of you.

Buy it on iTUNES!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/connection-feat-essence/1348538443

Watch the video! Listen to the podcast! Please share if you feel moved.

"Love at the center of it all"
-Bernie Dalton


With Gratitude,
essence, Bernie & The Believers


www.BernieAndTheBelievers.com
www.essencemusic.com
Bernie & The Believers Featured on NPR!
Bernie & The Believers Featured on NPR!
Watch the video! Listen to the Podcast!
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Dear Friends..

Bernie had a wish to make a video for a song he wrote called "Unusual Boy" that is about his past relationships and everything he learned to be able to become Mr. Right. He mailed me the handwritten lyrics for this song early last summer, shortly after he was diagnosed with ALS. I didn't know what to do with them. Because he could no longer speak or sing or play guitar, he asked me to put music and melody to his words. I was a little overwhelmed because the first draft actually had my name in it. Roger Rocha joined the collaboration and composed the guitar part and between the three of us the song fell out of the air. We decided to submit a live video/ recording to the NPR Tiny Desk Contest. An amazing group of creative friends made it happen. The amazing and brilliant Ari Gold directed. David Simon-Baker recorded sound live on location in Bernie's hospital room. That's Daniel Berkman on cello and Adrienne Biggs on violin. The Dream Foundation gave Bernie a grant to help make it possible and many people generously donated their talent, time and energy to this project. I could not be more grateful. Kirk Goldberg, Thayer Walker, Laura Santos, Elizabeth Chang, Ethan Gold, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! It came out very different than we had originally imagined but we went with the moment and what was captured is very raw and very real. It's the most emotional project I've ever been part of.

From our hearts - Enjoy!

Love,
essence, Bernie & The Believers
" Unusual Boy' / NPR Tiny Desk Contest
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Raised by 1,585 people in 5 months
Created January 17, 2018
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