Dick Dale Maintains Grueling Tour Schedule to Pay for Life-Saving Medical Care
When you buy a ticket to one of Dick Dale's shows, you aren't just giving yourself the chance to see a guitar legend in action — you're helping him pay for the costly medical care that's keeping him alive.
Charlie Deitch of the Pittsburgh City Paper highlighted Dale's painful medical woes in a recent profile piece that finds him admitting, "I can't stop touring because I will die. Physically and literally, I will die."
Dale made that grave prognosis on the eve of a three-month, 25-city tour set to take him from Denver to Boston before bringing him back home to California — an ambitious trek for any 78-year-old performer, but one fraught with further difficulties for a man coping with renal failure, diabetes and the aftereffects of two bouts with rectal cancer. Dale's wife and caretaker, Lana, also suffers from multiple sclerosis.
"I have to raise $3,000 every month to pay for the medical supplies I need to stay alive, and that’s on top of the insurance that I pay for," said Dale, explaining that a big part of his costs involve purchasing colostomy supplies. "The hospital says change your patch once a week," he continued. "No! If you don’t change that patch two times a day, the fecal matter eats through your flesh and causes the nerves to rot and they turn black, and the pain is so excruciating that you can’t let anything touch it. That has happened to me because I was following the orders of the hospital."
Yet even though he admits "the pain can be excruciating" when he's onstage, Dale also made it clear he wasn't opening up about his trials to court sympathy, or even to complain. Instead, his honesty is motivated by a desire to challenge and inspire others who may feel restricted or defeated by their own issues.
"I’ll talk about it onstage," said Dale. "I’ll tell them, ‘I don’t want to see anybody complaining about anything because I’m up here jumping around like a dummy.’ ... I was told 20 years ago that I wouldn’t live much longer, but here I am. I believe our maker has kept Lana and I alive to give hope. We’re like Johnny Appleseed, crossing the country and sowing the seeds of survival."
Whether or not you're deeply familiar with Dale's classic songs, this is a moving article, and well worth reading in full.
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