A jazz concert is being held at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Monday to raise money for local musician Linda Nash Stevenson, who's suffering from a chronic liver condition and needs about $100,000 to pay for life saving medicine.
"If I don't get the medicine I will die," Stevenson said.
For the past 25 years, Stevenson has been a staple in the local jazz scene, playing the flute in the Linda Nash Trio, along with her husband, Glenn Stevenson. But in the past few months, her hepatitis C has worsened and she can't play the flute every day.
"I used to be able to play three or four hours and not blink," she said. "Now, holding it up, my wrists hurt. So I have to be really mindful."
Stevenson said she acquired hepatitis C during an emergency blood transfusion while giving birth to her first child in 1980, but didn't find out she had the disease until 12 years ago.
"No one knew about hepatitis C for many, many years," she said. "There are many different variations of hepatitis C, and they're called genomes. And for the genome that I contracted, there's been no cure up until this year, 2014."
Stevenson said the drugs Sovaldi, Ribavirin and Olysio cost $25,000 per month, and her insurance won't cover it. The musician said her doctor told her she needs to take the drugs for three to five months.
"I need the drugs; my doctor's hands are tied and they're obscenely overpriced," Stevenson said. "It's a pretty cruel fate."
Linda's daughter, Arielle Stevenson, 25, started the 'Hope C Campaign' on the crowd funding website indiegogo.com and has already raised more than $4,000 in the past couple of weeks.
"We set an initial goal ... which is $29,000. We wanted to set something reasonable that we can just get my mom started on the medicine," she said. "We're trying to be really positive. In my mind, there's like no option for us not to get the medicine."
Stevenson said she appreciates all the support from her family and the community.
"I'm so touched," she said. "It's just awesome."
The jazz benefit is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Palladium Theater, located at 253 5th Avenue North, in St. Petersburg. Musicians Jun Bustamante, La Lucha, Nate Najar, John Lamb, Stolen Idols and Ray Biscoglia will be performing. The suggested donation at the door is $20.