Braver Than The Rest
THE MYRIAD'S RANDY MILLER
Story: Todd McBain
A note from the editor: Some of you may remember the feature story we did on Randy Miller in our February 2007 issue. We were so excited for him as the newest member of The Myriad and have had the pleasure of watching the band gain international popularity. We were awestruck watching them perform at the Cascade Theatre in March and then again in October. Our original intent was to provide our readers with a story on the success of The Myriad, which is still something we want to share. However, Randy’s recent health issues have taken precedence. We are so proud to be part of this generous community with so many members who have come forward to help support Randy and his family in this time of need. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Randy, his family and to those close to him.
In the midst of a spring tour, the Myriad traveled along a road that led it through the most surreal year of the five members’ lives. Playing national tours had become routine. Recording at Abbey Road Studios in London, playing to thousands in New York’s Times Square, having videos aired in highrotation on MTV and having a song featured on the “Rock Band” video game was more than they could have imagined.
It took a massive amount of support to help The Myriad win the MTV2 Dew Circuit Breakout in December 2007. Four thousand bands entered the contest, and judges selected 12 to compete for viewers’ votes. In the end, the Seattle-based band with Redding ties was named the top-vote getter. “I wastotally exhausted physically and emotionally,” says lead singer Jeremy Edwardson, a graduate of Central Valley High School and Simpson University. “That day was hard work. I think it may have been the longest day of my life.”
As soon as the band was able to relax, reflect and catch its breath, it was struck with a swift blow, leaving the members breathless. In November, just weeks after The Myriad played at the Cascade Theatre for its final show of 2008, drummer Randy Miller, 37, was diagnosed with mesenchymal chondrosarcoma, a rare cancer of the bone.
While on the spring tour, “Randy began feeling a pinching sensation that would make his left arm go completely numb,” Edwardson says. “He actually passed out at the MTV studios during a ‘Discover and Download’ interview because the pain was so intense.”
A few months later, during a performance in New Mexico, Miller noticed a lump on his chest. Doctors thought it was a swollen lymph node, but to be safe they decided to remove it. Once inside, the doctors realized it was a tumor.
“Had the surgery been with a cancer specialist, they would have likely removed Randy’s arm,” Edwardson says.
During the November procedure, doctors at Stanford University Medical Center found the massive tumor had extended into his shoulder and arm. Another tumor was found in his leftpelvic area and thigh. He was also told there was a large tumor on his right adrenal gland.
“I was totally stunned,” Edwardson says. “I was with Randy and his family the night before he went in for surgery and prayed with them. I had made up my mind that it was indeed a swollen lymph node. There was no way it could possibly be cancer. It was really hard for me to hear. It’s still sinking in.”
While The Myriad’s popularity has grown over the last year, at this stage it is still earning stripes. One perk not included is health insurance. With some friends’ help, and the signature of California Senator Sam Aanestad (R-Grass Valley), Miller was able to qualify for Medi-Cal, which allowed him to begin chemotherapy. The coverage helps, says family friend Michelle Nystrom, “but there is still a need for more assistance.”
A myriad of support has showered in from around the world. Prayers have been asked for and received, for both the family and the band (which also includes Jonathan Young on guitar, Steven Tracy on guitar and keyboards and John Roger Schofield on bass).
In December, Third Day – the winner of a 2008 American Music Award in the “favorite contemporary inspirational” category – held a benefit concert with proceeds going toMiller and his family (wife Kristyn and children, Connor and Gillian). Other groups, such as the David Crowder Band and Jeremy Camp, have also aided in the effort.
“He has his soldiers seen and unseen, by his side,” Kristyn Miller wrote on her blog, which she has used to share Randy’s fight with cancer. “The battle cry has been sounded, and we are ready to fight!”
Locally, The Stirring church has been taking offerings and has spearheaded the Randy Miller Mercy Fund. An anonymous donation ensured the Miller family’s rent is covered for a year. Jesse Rosten, a Redding cinematographer who directed the band’s “You Waste Time Like a Grandfather Clock” video, quickly reworked his schedule to shoot a promotional video for Miller.
Umpqua Bank selected the Miller family as a recipient of its Wish Upon a Star Christmas program, which grants the basic needs or special requests for those struggling through tough times, according to the bank’s Web site. It looks to make a “permanent difference” in the recipients’ lives, says Mike Quinn, owner of KLXR Radio – the program’s media sponsor.
“Through all the confusion and fear, Randy feels wrapped up in a million arms around the world and he also has complete faith in God’s hand of protection for him and his family,” Edwardson says. “It is very inspiring to listen to Randy as he begins the most difficult battle of his life.”
“I believe that God will wrap Randy and his family in love during this time,” Edwardson says. “He is their strength and comfort. I can’t fully understand the will of God but I believe he hears our cries and is very close to us throughout all of this.” •
There are immediate and ongoing financial needs for Randy and Kristyn and kids, Connor and Gillian. These needs can be met by donating to the Mercy Fund set up by a non profit organization called The Stirring and currently designated to Randy Miller. There are a few different ways you can send tax-deductible donations to this fund. One is online at www. thestirring.org. Located at the bottom right of the main page you will see ONLINE GIVING. If you click on this link you will be directed to a secure page where you can set up an online giving account. Once the account is set up you will see the MERCY FUND and be able to send secure donations to the family through this organization. Tax-deductible donations can also be sent in the form of a check to:
The Stirring RE: Randy Miller 3468 Bechelli Lane Suite E Redding, CA 96002
Any financial support you can give in order to help the Millers through this difficult time is appreciated.