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Musicians step up

Area musicians are staging a fundraising concert and silent auction on Sunday, March 10, at the Ashland Historic Armory in support of longtime local musician Mark DeGroft, who was stricken Sept. 12 with sepsis and a devastating clotting disease called disseminated intravascular coagulation.

The disease causes blood clots to form throughout the body, blocking small blood vessels. Interventions saved DeGroft’s vital organs, but the restricted circulation to his face and extremities resulted in the loss of his hands and feet and multiple surgeries on his nose and mouth, according to a gofundme page.

DeGroft and his wife of 40 years, Cindy, have lived in Ashland for 25 years. He was manager of Cripple Creek Music Co. for 20 years, during which the couple were a noted musical duo. Jefferson Public Radio listeners will remember Cindy as the host of of the Folk Show on Sunday evenings.

To help cover considerable medical and living expenses, donations may be given at gofundme.com/mark-degroft-medical-expenses. The page has raised $33,134 on a goal of $25,000 as of Wednesday.

In a video on the gofundme page, their son-in-law, physician John Grimme, explains the fast-acting disease, in which clots throughout the body block capillaries, bringing discoloration, pain, trouble speaking and breathing and possible organ failure.

On gofundme, Cindy DeGroft writes, “This is the hardest thing I have ever had to say. Mark has been in critical care for a week, very sudden onset, he has responded to treatment. ... I know many of you love Mark, demonstrated by the incredible response of love, support, and prayers, from our circle of musicians, medical community, and friends, and family. He could use all the loving light you can shine his way right now. A few years back, when I needed help, a wise friend told me courage was being brave in the face of danger, valour is courage in the face of the unknown. Thank you all for the many kindnesses, support, love, and prayers.”

On the gofundme page, DeGroft is shown skiing, canoeing, playing flute and guitar and performing on stage with his wife, singing “The Sweet Married Life.”

The benefit concert on March 10 features three of the valley’s most popular rock bands: Blue Lightning, the Frankie Hernandez Band and LEFT, with members of the Rogue Suspects and Gene Black. For the silent auction, several instrument makers have donated and there will be gift certificates for purchase as well.

For raffle is a Taylor 314ce guitar, valued at $2,000. Raffle tickets, available at Cripple Creek, are $50 and a limited amount will be sold. Other raffle items include a Martin Dreadnought Jr; Kala ukulele, ebony tenor with EQ; a Kala ukulele, pau ferro with bear claw spruce top; and a Loar mandolin. Raffle tickets also will be sold at the concert and the drawing will be held during the event.

Concert organizer Ariella St. Clair said on gofundme, “Because of his vulnerability Mark (in Portland care) is not allowed to have visitors at this time. Please share well wishes or fond memories below (on gofundme) that Cindy and (their daughter) Ellie (Grimm) can share with him. Cards, emails to Cindy, or hilarious and cute YouTube videos are also appreciated.”

Grimm said DeGroft is “really humble, talented, super creative and likes to keep a low profile” — and that many surgeries and long hospitalization lie ahead, so the prognosis is unknown, but he wants to somehow continue to be involved in music.

Cindy posted, “It will be a few months before he is ready to be fitted for prosthetics. He is slowly recovering strength and weight, and learning to cope with these devastating injuries. His valor, endurance, grace, and humor have been awe inspiring, and we are very grateful he is still with us.”

Scores of comments are posted, praising DeGroft’s patient teaching and help at Cripple Creek, with one noting, he “patiently & humorously helped me when I had dumb questions about my Baby Martin (I’m not that savvy). We always felt we were seeing a good friend when we’d come into the shop. This was especially appreciated since we were newcomers to an area where it seems friends go back generations and have a history together!! I am keeping Mark and his family in prayer for the Lord knows their physical & emotional needs and even now is showing His love through Mark’s many wonderful friends.”

Concert tickets are $15 to $25 on sliding scale at Cripple Creek and at the door. Donations may also be made at Cripple Creek, 541-482-9141.

Reach Ashland freelance writer John Darling at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

Countributed PhotoMusicians are staging a fundraising concert for March 10 at Ashland Historic Armory in support of longtime local musician Mark DeGroft.