We were proud to include musical prodigy Desiree Hines in our “New Who’s Who” last fall. Not only is Hines breaking boundaries as a transgender African-American classical organist in America, but she’s a truly talented force who’s been spending the last year in a rigorous music program at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
But everything changed in March – just two months after Hines lost her mother. In the middle of her junior year, as she was serving as the Isabel Curdy Endowed Organ Scholar at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Kansas City, she received shocking news.
“I was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer,” says Hines on her Facebook page. As she returned from spring break she was rushed to the hospital where the 32-year-old was diagnosed with stage-four Neuro Endocrine Carcinoma, a rare type of cancer in her pancreas and liver.
But that was just the beginning.
After being hospitalized five times in just two months, Hines has begun an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy. But she has no health insurance, which is why friends have created an online campaign to help subsidize her treatment with much-needed donations.
“Desiree has no heath insurance and is unable to obtain anything other than Medicaid because her condition is pre-existing,” the online campaign explains. “Currently she is in chemotherapy and will start radiation after the sixth cycle of chemo.”
Hines’ goal is to not only earn her Doctor of Musical Arts, but to also become the very first African-American woman to be the musical director for a cathedral in the United States.
Click here if you’d like to help make that a reality. Please also consider sharing this link with others on Facebook, Twitter and among friends and fellow musicians. For anyone who donates $50, Hines will share digital music files of her performance at the Riverside Baptist Church in Washington D.C., along with an autographed CD.
On a personal note, we wish Desiree a swift recovery so that she can resume her studies and continue pursuing her passion as a history-making woman in music today.