“They came to my aid with kindness, generosity, and a true empathy that made healing possible for me in every way. I couldn’t be more grateful to the AGMA Relief Fund, and to everyone who has donated to them throughout the years.”– Abby, Mezzo-Soprano
In the summer of 2015, I suffered a terrible injury during an opera production that damaged both knees, my right thigh, and my right hip. Although the production was non-union, they did have Workman’s Compensation insurance, so I was extremely lucky that, despite some frustrations trying to get care in a reasonable amount of time, all of my doctor’s bills were covered. In the end, that included major surgery on my labrum (the cartilage that covers the hip socket, which I tore badly enough to impress even my surgeon), a swarm of diagnostic exams and physicians, and about two full years of physical therapy.
Despite that incredible benefit, because I was a freelancer on a temporary contract, I was not entitled to receive weekly benefits for my injury. Also unfortunately, when the gig ended, I was wrongly instructed that I would be able to receive payments and, following bad advice, missed my window for applying for unemployment. So for several weeks following the injury, I had no way of earning money until my next gig started. At that point, a dear friend remembered how the AGMA Relief Fund came to the aid of a mutual friend who had broken his back and couldn’t pay his bills, and she recommended I reach out to them.
I couldn’t be more grateful for her introduction to this amazing program. After I filled out some paperwork and proved my performing-related income (union status doesn’t matter, though church earnings don’t count), I had a way to pay my bills during this incredibly stressful time. Injuries are tough and painful, and not knowing how to care for the financial side of my life was terrifying and emotionally fraught. The woman who assisted me throughout the process gave me a kind ear. Having someone I felt I could trust in one of my weakest moments meant more than I can express.
When the time came to have my surgery, after which I wouldn’t be able to work for a full ten weeks, they stepped in again, with the help of MusicCares and the Actors Fund. Although I can’t say I made it through that time without any scars, I managed to pay my rent and keep my head above water at a time when it otherwise would have been truly impossible. They came to my aid with kindness, generosity, and a true empathy that made healing possible for me in every way. I couldn’t be more grateful to the AGMA Relief Fund, and to everyone who has donated to them throughout the years.