Send Bernie Home

$88,527 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 1,599 people in 6 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 thrilled to tell you that Bernie & The Believers have been invited to perform a highly esteemed
Tiny Desk Concert at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. on Tues, October 16!!! We need your help funding the trip there and back. We are launching a new Go Fund Me today to keep Bernie's Dream Alive by sharing his music far and wide while at the same time raising awareness for ALS in hopes that a cure can be found for this awful disease. Your kindness and generosity made this album possible and you have also made it possible for Bernie to receive the ALS specific care that his advanced condition requires. We thank you from our hearts. We would be deeply grateful if you would make a DONATION to this new campaign today to help us keep this train going by bringing Bernie's music to Washington DC (and beyond) to perform a live filmed set for an official Tiny Desk Concert. We will be doing a full week of East Coast dates bringing Bernie's songs to his hometown of Danville, Pennsylvania and beyond. Please help us keep Bernie's dream alive and take Bernie & The Believers on the road for an East Coast Tour!

DONATE here:
Here's the full story:

Bernie Dalton is a songwriter and single father living with Bulbar Onset- ALS (Lou Gerhig’s Disease.) He currently resides in a San Francisco hospital and has a traeceostomy and a ventihilator machine that helps him breath. He has lost all mobility and communicates with his eyes using an eye gaze device, like Stephen Hawking. He has a feeding tube that bypasses his stomach and goes directly to his intestines because his digestion has been compromised by this unforgiving disease. Before Bernie was diagnosed with ALS, he was my voice student.

My name is Essence Goldman and I am a singer-songwriter and voice coach. Bernie responded to an ad I had on Craigslist, when at 46 years old, he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of making an album of his own songs. After 2 short months of lessons, tragedy struck. Bernie’s voice mysteriously disappeared. Months passed and it did not return. After a series of tests, Bernie received an unthinkable diagnosis. He was given a 1-3 year prognosis. Bernie was a devoted single father to a 15 year old daughter. He was an athlete. And he was an avid surfer. When he lost the ability to speak and sing, he asked me to be his voice.

I gathered a team of talented musicians and together we put music and melody to his words. Bernie produced and directed from the couch signaling thumbs up and thumbs down during the writing and recording process. Last year I Iaunched a Go Fund Me Campaign and funds were raised to make an album of songs that he wrote for his daughter’s future children, that he knew he would likely not live long enough to meet. Songs that express his views of the world, his values, his advice for living for future generations. Through generous support and donations from the community, Bernie & The Believers recorded and released “Connection” in February 2018. The project received national attention and Bernie's story and music was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and All Songs Considered. The SF Chronicle published a front page feature story and filmed an emotional documentary. Your support made this possible!

Bernie & The Believers are thrilled to announce we have been invited to perform a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, October 16! We are planning an East Coast Tour that will include Bernie’s hometown in Pennsylvania among many other stops. Bernie’s image and his lyrics will be projected on a screen in real time from his hospital room behind the band as we perform his songs. We are partnering with the ALS Foundation to bring visibility and attention to this horrible disease that will, hopefully, lead to a cure someday. It will be an unforgettable musical triumph over ALS.

Bernie and the band need your support to make this trip possible. We have come this far with your support, and we would be deeply grateful if you’d be kind enough to help us keep this train going. There are many expenses in bringing Bernie’s music on the road. Flights, a rental van, meals, accomodations, and modest pay to make it possible for the band to take time off from our other paying jobs. The generous money that was raised in the first "Bernie's Song" Go Fund Me campaign was used to create the amazing album and video that have brought national attention to the Bernie and The Believers project as well as giving Bernie a meaningful reason to keep living. The additional funds raised in the "Send Bernie Home" campaign have provided Bernie with medical care that is not normally available for ALS patients at this advanced stage. It is very important that the tour back East takes place and is well funded. These ongoing events keep Bernie's hope alive and improve the quality of his life.

Despite Bernie's grim prognosis, he has all of his mental and emotional faculties in place. He is a courageous fighter and he presses on. He lives for his daughter and he lives for his music. We want to give Bernie the joy, satisfaction, and sense of accomplishment knowing his music is reaching a national audience by playing a Tiny Desk Concert. It is a huge honor for me to sing these songs.

This cause is greater than all of us. In the spirit of healing and music, please give what you can, and please, if you feel moved by Bernie’s courage and music, share this far and wide. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support. We are grateful beyond measure.

With Love and Music,

essence, Bernie & The Believers
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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
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:

Listen to the "All Songs Considered" feature here:

Edited clips can be found directly on the homepage of our website:

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:

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.

essence, Bernie And The Believers

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:

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

Buy it on iTUNES!

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
Bernie & The Believers Featured on NPR!
Bernie & The Believers Featured on NPR!
Watch the video! Listen to the Podcast!
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Raised by 1,599 people in 6 months
Created January 17, 2018
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