Father performs "Let it Be" to raise funds for his 11-month-old's cancer bills

[Video Link] "On July 5th, 2012, my 11-month-old son, Noah, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor," writes Mike Masse in the introduction to this YouTube video, a beautiful performance of the Beatles' "Let it Be."

Details on the fundraiser here.

In America, little boys have to start lemonade stands when their fathers get cancer. In America, fathers have to do what Mike is doing here when their sons get cancer.

No parent should have to bare their grief to the world, no matter how beautifully, to beg for money to cover the life-saving medical treatment their baby needs. As you see the beauty, be mindful of the injustice in our health care system this represents.

Cancer is one tragedy. The way our country treats people with cancer, even when they're little babies, is another.

(HT: Joe Sabia)


  1. Another tragedy is the way the American medical industry and their political sycophants  work to undermine public health care around the world.   

  2. My first two thoughts were “Baby cancer–damn that’s hard,” and “Guy’s got a good voice.”  These thoughts were immediately followed by: “Please don’t let him get sued and/or get a takedown notice.  Please please please….”

    1. That was my first thought. Suing a man whose child has cancer is not something beyond the pale for the likes of the MPAA and co.

  3. But if health care were paid for by the taxpayer, people wouldn’t have the incentive to build lemonade stands and record emotional songs and beg for money from strangers (or make vast quantities of pure crystal meth /whisper). The economy could falter.

    Vote Romney!

  4. Donated.  Dude’s awesome.  Sorry about your baby, man!  Hang in there!  I don’t know about that type of cancer, but, fortunately, kids are far more curable for most cancers than adults.

  5. That’s just plain awful. What kind of country is that? How come this man has to rely on donation? Since I am a father I found out one cannot lose more than one’s child. Or so I thought. Apparently in the US you can lose your child … and everything else. I hope this man gets support, really, but what about all of those who can’t sing?

    Im heading straight to the donation page.

  6. Romney’s camp would point at all the donations the guy’s getting and say “See? The system is working!”

  7. I donated but with the political undertones I’m wondering now if this is legitimate. I don’t want to sound heartless but some people go to great lengths to get money. Is there a way we can check?

    1.  Best to assume he’s going to buy crack with your hard-earned money.  If you really want to help, think about buying him a sack of groceries.  Don’t actually do it, just think about it.

    2. The best way to check whether you have a heart is, I believe, with a stethoscope. But testing for the presence of a soul is much more complicated…

      But seriously, what “political undertones” are you referring to? I just watched the whole video and he didn’t even use the word “healthcare”, let alone condemn America’s insane policy on it. Is simply getting sick now viewed as a partisan political ploy?

      1. Yes it is.  One party stands for getting that dad, and his kid, health care.  One party has sworn to prevent that, and cheers at the phrase, “Let him die.”

      2.  I’m referring to the political undertones in this post and its replies. In my mind politics = lying no matter which side you’re on. So I simply wanted to validate this story to make sure I sent money to someone who deserves it. I don’t think that is to much to ask.

        1.  You realize Matt if the U.S. had public healthcare for all, you wouldn’t have to worry about the story being true or not.  It wouldn’t exist.  Maybe you should push for fully funded public healthcare to solve your dilemma.

        2. So you’re suspicious of his motives because *other people* have seen political significance in his situation?

          And no, donating a couple of bucks doesn’t give you enough moral authority to publicly question the guy’s integrity without looking like an ass yourself.

          1. You caught me. That’s exactly it. Also, could we determine what this mans beliefs are because I don’t want to send money to someone who doesn’t have the same opinion as me. Oh, and could we get him to take a drug test too?

            It’s not impossible for someone to use the internet to scam generous people for money. Asking for more information is not only smart but the right thing to do. Again, since you’re having a hard time grasping this, I simply asked if this story is legitimate.

          2.  “Due diligence” is extremely important, especially when giving. I allocate 5% of my net income to philanthropy and usually pick small(er) projects like this to donate to. 

            Having a one-year-old boy myself makes me want to immediately hand over my entire giving budget, but I do have to ask some questions first, and since this is me giving away my money freely to do the most good, it does not make me (or anyone else who practices due diligence) an ass for asking questions.

            1. Does this guy have insurance? Nobody seems to know. A lot of people assume he doesn’t, but since the kid has already gotten surgery and one round of chemo, I bet there is some insurance. How good is it? Nobody seems to know except Masse, and he isn’t saying one way or another.

            2. Is the money going directly for Noah’s treatment or as a general fund for the family? Again, Masse’s answers are vague. I get not wanting to disclose all your financial data to random people, but if you are asking the world at large for money, it is reasonable for donors to expect some details about how you’re going to use this money. “For the long road ahead” is not much of an answer. I don’t need to know his yearly income, but I would like to know how much of the  money is going to treatment and how much to supporting the family’s lifestyle.

            For me, no insurance and/or money going directly to get Noah the right treatment is different from keeping the family in their current standard of living.  I’m willing to help pay for chemotherapy for a one-year-old or buy the family groceries for a week because they went broke from the bills. I’m not so willing to help keep his dad’s subscription to HBO active while they deal with treatment. And right now, I don’t know what my money would be used for or how much need there is, so I’m researching.

            Due diligence makes sure your money does the most good, whether you’re investing it or donating it. The only ass is the person who ignorantly belittles others for doing their homework first before giving.

          3. thivai: I see your point of course, and agree that I was overly harsh in my criticism. But I still think there’s a not very fine line between due diligence and an attitude of mistrust.  In all dealings with individuals (as opposed to organizations) I personally try to err on the side of being overly trusting.

            And personally I don’t see any importance to whether or not he has insurance, or is using the $$ to directly pay a bill or to pay his rent after paying his bills. Either way, he needs my $20 far worse than I do, and I’m glad to help.

    3. Go read his profile on his band’s page (after you donate!!!)…  he’s a public defender who plays music on the side.  He’ll most certainly be disbarred if it’s a ploy.  I’m 100% certain it’s legit.

      1. Well, all that could be faked too. But if someone actually went through that much trouble to defraud people I think he deserves a little something for his hard work and ingenuity. After all, cooking meth is faster, easier, and more lucrative. 

    4. Hi Matt, thanks for donating.  To address your concerns about legitimacy, please see the description under the YouTube video for links to several news stories about Noah’s situation.  The ABC4 stories include video from the hospital room, etc.

      To address thivai’s concerns below: we have insurance, but it has limitations and caps, as you’d expect.  We’ve already worked through about a third of our annual limit, and that was just within one month.  So it’s not unrealistic to expect that we’ll be covering a lot of the treatment costs out of pocket.

      E.g., as my kind co-worker mentioned above, Noah just underwent a  stem cell harvesting for a future bone marrow transplant (basically where he supplies his own bone marrow transplant from his own harvested cells), a very expensive procedure ($200k) that isn’t covered by our insurance.  We’re doing what’s necessary for Noah, and will sort out the finances later.  Hopefully the insurance will, upon appeal, at least cover the procedure partially (since our hospital is “in network” for everything but this transplant, for some incomprehensible reason).  But this is one example of the uncertainty we face.  I didn’t want us to have to be making decisions about treatment that were in any way driven by financial factors, if possible.  Thus, the public appeal.  My older sister died of a brain tumor a few years back, and my parents made every effort to help her, including weekly cross-country flights for experimental treatments at UCLA, none of which was covered by insurance.  

      To address your question about where the money is going:  I’ve created a minor account for Noah M. Masse at Chase Bank, where all of the donations are being deposited directly.  A minor account means the money has to be spent for the welfare of the minor (and not for something like HBO, as you suggested).  So we’re trying to exercise the appropriate stewardship for the money that’s been entrusted to us by the generosity of strangers.  For what it’s worth, we live modestly and within our means.

      I have no idea how much we’ll end up needing, or collecting.  And I’m guessing it’ll be years before we really know, if we’re lucky to be able to continue this fight for at least that long.  I totally respect anyone who doesn’t want to contribute–there are so many worthy causes in need of resources out there.  But I’m grateful for those who have chosen to help out.  Hopefully Noah will one day be able to thank many of them personally.

      Take care,


  8. How can a country that spends trillions in defense justify that a person may die for not having the right type of health insurance?

    We may pay more taxes in Europe, and that is a pain, but at least everyone understands that there are basic things a government is responsible for (health, education, defense, some utilities) because the best interest of the people contradict the best interest of a private company doing the same job.

    1. But, but, but, the military is there to protect lives.   Hey maybe the military should be funding public healthcare?

  9. We look at you, the United States, from Europe and other industrialised countries and we wonder. 
    We talk to our good friends and relatives who live in the USA and they try to explain the inexplicable to us. 
    About the disdain for universal health care and the hatred of gun laws like those which protect us from all but a tiny number of  mass murders.
    We can’t understand why you spurn these things.
    Do you have a death-wish?

      1.  No, that’s not true.  There’s just a large amount of the population that seems to vote against their own best interests for what I can only consider inexplicable reasons.  Maybe they’re religious reasons, or fear-based decisions, or, quite simply because they believe everyone else needs to suffer like they are, but there are a good amount of “we, the people” who inherently vote against things that would help them.

        At the same time, they would consider my decisions to pay higher taxes for greater civilization and safety nets while wanting to decrease the defense spending an inexplicable move on my part.  Different strokes for different folks and all that, but kids shouldn’t be dying if their dad can’t sing and veterans shouldn’t be living in the streets.

        1. In the USA at the federal level, you don’t for or against things. You elect representatives who vote for or against bills that contain, typically, a mixture laws relating to a set of only vaguely related things. 

          When people at the median income level or below vote again and again for representatives whose voting behaviour serves the interests of those with much greater wealth and/or income, they are not so much voting against their interests as ignoring history. The only viable explanation for this is that they prefer the non-economic positions of those representatives (“values”), and that they consider the economic decisions to be either less important or of little consequence.

          If you step back and consider how view of things this could come to be so widespread, you might want to revisit the subtler semantics of whether “we the people have [lost] control of our own country” …

          1. While your argument works on a federal level and I agree with your salient point, I’ve seen it on the state and local level as well.  In the state of New Jersey the majority of the local populace seems to believe that if you do not have children in a school you should not pay any taxes that go to any schools.

            This then results in local schools struggling to purchase books, good teachers moving to other neighboring states when they can, and the generation behind yours not knowing as much.  Because the fact that you got a decent enough education paid for by the entire town means you got yours and to hell with the new kids, it’s not your problem anymore. 

            A younger generation who might get interested in science or math and solve some of the world’s problems are then therefore not given the resources by the same group of people who then rail about how the education system is failing these kids and these problems didn’t happen when they were in school.  This is only one instance of people literally voting against their own best interest for reasons beyond my ken.

          2. Sorry JProffitt71, here you go:


        2. In this instance, it’s very much fear-based decisions. Listen to any debate about the ACA lately. The most common arguments against are that it will raise the cost of their insurance, or lower the quality of care, or even prevent then from getting healthcare entirely. 

          Nevermind the effect on their taxes — people are being told that universal health care will cost them the level of care they’ve come to expect, meager as it is. And since their access to healthcare is so precarious to begin with, they tend to believe it.

          1. Microsoft’s method of FUD advertising which helped them dominate computing for years is being used by politicians.  I hope history will repeat itself and the politicians currently using FUD will stagnate and be replaced by a better option.

      2. No, surveys suggest that our elections work fairly well and our politicians’ stances on things like healthcare and gun control are reflective of large numbers of US citizens. If I were to put my totally unsupported theory forward, this because we have an increasingly urbanized population that doesn’t realize it’s urbanized, a population that still thinks in more rural or ‘frontier’ terms. The idea of ‘frontier’ is still very much a part of our culture, I think.

        And then, it makes a little more sense. If you are in a rural part of the US, the government doesn’t provide that much to you  (visibly). No utilities, little law enforcement, and not much in the way of public works, which is usually something in cities. The government is a force which takes away your money, offering nothing in return except laws and regulations which from your perspective accomplish nothing while interfering with what has been harmlessly practiced in your family for generations (e.g. gun ownership). What your neighbor does doesn’t matter, because your neighbor doesn’t live close by.

        Meanwhile, if you live in a city, you should be more sensitive to what government owned or government-heavily-regulated services can do, with obvious things like water and sewer services, garbage collection, visible law enforcement, a paid fire fighting force, street cleaners, new parks, libraries, and bridges, and all sorts of stuff. The Government takes your money, but you do get something and return, and the concessions it demands are things you would wish your neighbor would stop doing anyway. What your neighbors do DOES matter, because they’re right next door, or even in the same building.

        1. This goes along with my theory that public transportation makes for better citizens.  Your neighbor rides the same bus or train.  You see the “other” people and notice how nice they are to a kid.  Big cities are more small town America than most of small town America these days.

          1. My experience  is that if anything living near a big city is socially deadening. I see many more other people,  but it is a much more anonymous and superficial  experience than my home town, where for example I can’t go to the grocery store without running into someone I know. Where I live now, I don’t even know the names of my next door neighbors.  Similarly, I see a lot more suffering/poverty/panhandling near the city compared to back home, but it is easier to ignore, mostly because it is emotionally exhausting not to ignore. My guess was that city people are more likely to look to institutions/the government  as tools to solve problems than people in smaller towns. But, I’d be surprised if that extends to the  “we’re all in this together” mutual support mentality allegedly experienced in smaller towns.

          2. I’d suggest you go meet your neighbors.  Worked like a charm for me for years.  Next thing you know you might end up making it to the block parties where fantastic BBQ is made in 55 gallon drum grills.

          3. In big cities I agree with you and I also agree with bkad about suburbia.  Even though I live in a city with millions of people I know people in many of the establishments I frequent and I volunteer to connect with people who share my beliefs.

            If you don’t know your neighbor’s name who’s fault is it? Some people in suburbia treat everyone as hostile and don’t associate as freely with neighbors but you would be amazed at how much people will warm up if you give them home-made cookies/brownies.

          4. This is in reply to bkad’s reply to your post, mccrum:
            This summer I went to Anchorage for the first time. Alaskans had warned me that it wasn’t great, but I thought, na ja, cities are fun! Anchorage wasn’t great (apart from its gay bars, and Pablo’s Sausages and Bicycle Rentals). So, generations of Alaskans must think that cities are awful, and perhaps even that people are awful, because someone let triumph bad zoning, poor urban design.

    1. In the US, voters vote for snappy-sounding arguments because they don’t have the information in their heads to evaluate assertions. We need to give US voters the information they need. Preferably in a way that can’t be used shortly after as a shortcut by bad guys.

      Edit: Also! In the US we attempt to use chemistry to compensate for poor engineering.

  10. What a tragedy. What a completely stupid, absolutely avoidable, tragedy. I’m sorry I’m not teaching an intro sociology course at the moment, because I feel a cracking good health and inequality lecture coming on. 

  11. A week ago the Mars landing showed us the best side of the USA. There’s something unique about that culture which can push back physical barriers that ignites our imagination. And then… back to the mundane, uncaring reality that reminds me how grateful I am to live in a country which, despite its many faults, has compassion built into its social structure. To think that a fortnight ago many laughed at the representation of socialised medicine in our Olympic opening ceremony. That the USA, with its relative wealth, still has nothing similar is heartbreaking.

    1.  The Paul Ryan “Budget” among other deep cuts, would utterly gut NASA. Unless, of course, we can convince the 1% that the ultimate luxuries can only be found in space.

      1. I like Douglas Adams’ idea of convincing the entire lot of them that the planet is about to be destroyed, and as the cream of society they could be the first aboard a series of space arks to colonize a new planet.

        Then the rest of us stay home. 

        1.  Close.  As I recall, those were the lower class folks, hairdressers and telephone sanitizers and the like.  Scientists and productive types were in the other two to come later.

          Of course, in those books, that ship crashed leaving those folks as the major lifeform on Earth, so be careful of what you wish for…

          1. it was the “useless thrid” of the population. middle men.
            The working class, e.g. the “do-ers” of society were 1/3 and the scientists etc. were the thinking 1/3 while the so-called management consultants and telphone sanitizers (a real job at large offices – I always thought this was one of Adams’s jokes, but I was reliably informed that they were very popular in the late ’70’s/early 80s) formed the useless 1/3.

            consequently the Golgafrinchams suffered a total planetary devastation from a disease caught from a dirty telephone…

  12. Isn’t this exactly the point of St. Jude’s Hospital and it affiliates across the country. Can’t they be of help in the treatment?

  13. I sent something to Mike.  I hope it helps and his performance is everything music can be, to me.

  14. I can’t click on that. One year ago today my father died of cancer. One year ago right now I was booking an expensive one-way plane ticket and scrambling to pack and get home. He’d had one year of treatment with private insurance, then four years of care with Medicare. He had no problems with insurance. They covered everything, even experimental and newly-approved treatment. That such care should be available to a man in his sixties and not to a child is horrifying and shaming. I hope we in the US continue our motion toward humane civilization.

    1.  I don’t get it – you say “that such care should be available to a man in his sixties and not to a child is horrifying”, but you won’t donate? Maybe I am misunderstanding your “I can’t click on that”.

      I am so sorry for your lost, kullervo.  It sounds like you loved your dad very much.

  15. I thought this guy looked and sounded familiar. Sure enough, he’s Mike Masse, whose excellent covers of various songs I’ve enjoyed for years (FOR FREE) on YouTube. I think I’ll be donating.

  16. This is where I get confused…..
    Here, in Europe, everyone pays a few beer tokens per week into a fund that pays for everyone’s basic health care. (If you want first class then pay more.)
    Thanks to America’s pressure dental care has now been privatised and only the rich can afford it when in the past everyone got it for free.
    Health care insurance companies make millions of dollars of profit it’s crazy. All that profit could be going into paying nurses etc. a decent wage.
    America… You are SICK and getting SICKER every day. Which is fine by me if that’s what you want then go for it. Unfortunately you are infecting the entire planet and folks out there are getting just a little peeved.
    You are like sheep begging to enter the slaughterhouse while discussing the colour of the grass.

    1. “Look, all I’m saying is that as a whole, it’s more green-yellow than yellow-green.  You can’t hold up that one, non-representative blade as the standard for the general lawn as a whole.  Can’t you see the area around us seems to be getting redder, like it’s been painted with a fine mist?  Hey, what’s that noise?”

      Seriously though, if you’d like to encourage Canada to come down and annex us I’d be interested in subscribing to that newsletter.  They can even just take the Northeast down to New York and we’ll throw in New Jersey for free!  Act now and we’ll include Delaware at no extra charge!

  17. And we call our selves a civilization, as in “civilized”. I’m not sure what to think of a country that has the wealth and capability to take care of its citizens, but chooses not to. 

    Instead we have calls for “self-reliance” that are thinly veiled “screw you”s.

  18. I don’t understand this – I thought children at least were covered in the US – Medicare for children, Medicaid for seniors – or possibly the other way round.  You mean there are pondscum who think children should die if they can’t afford insurance>?

    1. Ya they’re called Republicans. It’s really sad that we have to turn to crowdsourcing for help, but it’s heartening to see that the general American populace is pretty decent and not like the politicians. Still, it enrages me to see my country fall at the whim of corporations. It’s sickening.

  19. So i started to wonder why Masse doesn’t have any insurance. 

    One article says he works as a public defender attorney in Utah.


    1. Health insurance, even if through an employer, can be prohibitively expensive. Perhaps he’s not in the position to afford the monthly payments. Or its possible he’s recently started his job and benefits haven’t kicked in yet.

    2. Yeah, he’s in Utah. Utah SUCKS hard at helping people, brother you have no idea! I live at its capital and while Salt Lake City is pretty dang sweet, the rest of the state is shite. It’s a right-to-work state and has no union or labor laws, so employers can treat employees however the crud they want. Sadly it’s also the reason why so many movies are filmed out here. Also, no liquor in convenience or grocery stores. Sigh.

    3. Even with health insurance you still have to pay something.  A decent insurance policy covers 80% of testing and treatment costs, leaving the patient to pay for the remaining 20%.

      20% of a lot is still a lot.

      There are also things that insurance doesn’t cover.  Mike probably has 10 sick days per year that he can use to deal with his son’s cancer, and maybe – MAYBE – 20 vacation days.  That gets used up very quickly when dealing with a major illness or a chronic disease. Chemo is ridiculously expensive. Check out Xeni’s posts about the cost of a single pill.

      Insurance isn’t enough.

  20. Another injustice in our health care system: In the U.S., workers aren’t guaranteed paid leave time to deal with their own or a family member’s illness. In fact, more than 40% of private-sector workers don’t have any paid sick leave.

    Even if you have insurance, it’s very hard for many people to take time off from work when they need the money. (And you need even more money when you or a family member is sick: even with insurance, there are co-pays, deductibles, incidentals from many trips to the doctor…)

    I’m taking care of my dad in the hospital now. It’s possible because I have paid sick leave. I think everybody deserves that. You can find out more at paidsickdays.org.

  21. “The proceeds from your donation will go towards getting Noah the best care possible, as well as helping keep our family afloat while we focus on little Noah’s treatment and comfort.”

    So is part of the problem here is that both parents have to quit their jobs to take care of their son’s cancer? I don’t think that’s a problem any healthcare system addresses, actually. 

    1. It sure isn’t, but it bloody well should be. That’s why healthcare needs to be treated like a public service. If it weren’t for the healthcare policies existing as they do now, the donations towards helping this family would just be considered TAXES. Just makes sense.

  22. So I wonder if he could claim busker’s rights in this case to avoid litigation. He’s just performing on a public space to raise money is all. Digital busking should be a thing!

  23. Masse and Hall’s take of Toto’s “Africa” is the best cover I have ever heard… “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” I think John Lydgate said that.

    1. Actually, I’m a cancer patient with unpaid medical bills, and that’s my personal affiliate link, so you can just fucking deal with it.

      I use them out of habit in many of my posts that relate to music, and wasn’t trying to exploit the story here.

  24. Speaking as a person who has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, I have to explain something to our baffled brothers and sisters from more civilized countries.  Just be cause you have health insurance in the USA doesn’t mean that it covers the cost of something catastrophic like this.  Many insurance policies will have lifetime maximum payout amounts and huge yearly deductibles and outright exclusions of coverage.  The policies are bloated and full of legalese which makes it nearly impossible for a layman to compare one policy w/ another.  Unfortunately even proposing that the government create a standard way to describe coverage within policies so that people can do apple-to-apple comparisons is branded socialism and anti-American by those unwittingly serving their corporate overlords.

    Also, with cancer, you have to go through chemo, radiation treatments, surgery, rehab, home care, etc..  The costs can run into the millions pretty quickly. I nearly did a spit-take one day when I saw an accounting of how much my insurance had paid for my chemo after only 8 rounds of treatment.  (Way over six figures.)  If my employers hadn’t consciously sought out a “Cadillac” policy for them and their friends who worked for them, I would have had to sell my house to raise a little bit of extra money and  probably would have died homeless and unable to feed my children.

    1. In the USA we have made an art form out of kicking defenseless people in the teeth.  Hope every thing goes ok, but your intro makes me think my words are empty.  Take care.

  25. This should make everyone who sees it so angry that all they see is red. It’s not right what’s happening to him. 

  26. I honestly don’t understand this. Is it really possible for someone to have to pay for a live-saving treatment?

    Now I understand why a large portion of our Olympic opening ceremony was devoted to a celebration of the NHS. 

    It might me hard for Americans to understand the complete WTF? reaction this will get from Europeans.

    Imagine reading a story about the UK, where a murderer is allowed to go on a rampage because, “It’s not the government’s business to intervene in the case of murders. Citizens should be free to make their own decisions about whether or not to employ a private security force for their personal protection”.

  27. Hi.  I’m one of Mike’s coworkers. 

    We do indeed have insurance.  However, the insurance company is refusing to pay for one of the treatments that the hospital considers the standard of care for Noah.  Mike is still working, but public defense is something you do out of love, and not because of the money.  

    There have been plenty of internet scams, so I can’t blame anyone for being suspicious.  But as one of Mike’s friends, I can tell you that this one isn’t a scam.  

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