Rick Van Horn Reaches Out

Rick Van Horn Reaches Out

By Phil Hood Published December 2, 2009

We were saddened recently to learn that Crystal Van Horn, the wife of esteemed former Modern Drummer editor, Rick Van Horn, has been diagnosed with leukemia. In an emotional personal message Rick recently posted he shares his personal news and asks for help. As many of you drummers know, Rick was for many years this industry's leading product reviewer, as well as a great supporter of all things percussive (there's a great bio of him here. Crystal worked alongside him at Modern Drummer. Here's his note.

Dear Family, Friends, and Colleagues:

For many of you this will be an update to earlier messages. For some it will be new information that may seem abrupt and cold, for which I apologize. I wish I could speak with everyone personally, but time and energy simply won’t permit that.

Tiger Bill Meligari (left) with Crystal and Rick Van Horn.

Just before Thanksgiving we learned that my wife Crystal has leukemia. She was able to spend the holiday with our family, which is a blessing. Then she entered the hospital this past Friday for a month of chemotherapy and follow-up treatment. That will be followed by several more months in and out of the hospital for additional treatments.

Crystal has always been a vital and productive individual in pursuits including theater, temple, and community affairs. Many of you know her in one or the other of those contexts, and I’m confident that you know of the contributions she’s made in each one.

In the drumming world, Crystal is almost as well known as I am. She stage-managed eighteen straight Modern Drummer Festival Weekends. She was an adjunct faculty member at eight KoSA International Percussion Seminars. And she has always been an active participant with me at events like the Cape Breton Drum Festival, The Drum Road Trip, and the University Of The Arts Summer Jazz Workshop. Crystal has been my roadie, my sounding board, and my indispensible partner in everything I've accomplished for more than thirty-eight years.

I'm not normally one to ask for help. But I'm smart enough to recognize that some situations are bigger than any one person's ability to deal with on his own. So I'm reaching out to every potential source of help, in Heaven and on Earth, to get me, my family, and the woman who is the love of my life through this new challenge.

As you can imagine, the cost of dealing with Crystal’s illness will be high, both financially and emotionally. For the financial side, insurance will cover only some of the bills. At the suggestion of friends, a fund has been set up to help. If you have it in your heart to make a contribution, please send a check (or international bank draft) made out to the Crystal Van Horn Emergency Fund, and mail it to 218 Hamilton Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07011. If you can't make a contribution, we'll be equally grateful for your prayers and positive energy. Either way, I'll be grateful if you would pass this message on to anyone who you think would want to know about the situation.

Many, many thanks to all.


Rick Van Horn

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