NORMAN — Michael Loveland had a sore throat.
His bandmates encouraged him to go easy on his trademark yowl during practices, but the problem persisted. When he made it to the doctor, he was scheduled for a tonsillectomy. On the day of his surgery, however, 30-year-old Loveland — husband and father, son and brother — was given a new diagnosis, much scarier than what he’d anticipated.
“The type of cancer Michael has is very aggressive and is a somewhat rare form of lymphoma,” said Ruth Loveland, Michael’s wife, a noted Oklahoma artist and mother of their son Asher, 4. “It required immediate in-hospital treatment. We had very little time to prepare financially, emotionally and logistically for the challenges that this diagnosis brings.”
One of the first to mobilize in support was longtime family friend Sarah Carson, whose husband, Eric, has known Michael Loveland for 15 years. Carson set up a fundraising site just days after hearing about the diagnosis and only two days before Loveland started treatment.
“I know from having family members with cancer that sometimes people don’t know what they need, what to ask for, when they are going through something so difficult,” Carson said. “We wanted to offer something specific and tangible as a way to lift them up. We were blown away by the response.”
The response was indeed swift and humbling: The fundraising page for Loveland went live May 6 and a mere 48 hours later had surpassed its fundraising goal of $20,000 — and continues to climb.
“It’s providing the money for the initial medical expenses that insurance doesn’t cover — and for me to take a leave of absence from my job,” Ruth Loveland said.
“Our families have pledged a lot of support as well, but with the community chipping in, it alleviates the stress that ripples through to our more immediate relatives. He has a long road to the end of treatment and recovery, but the support is fortifying us for the journey.”
If you are involved at all, even as an observer, with the arts community in Norman, it’s likely you have some tangential connection to the Lovelands. Ruth’s paintings hung near the entrance of the original Forward Foods. She has a studio downtown that is often open for Norman’s Second Friday circuit of Art Walk.
Michael Loveland’s bands have played frequently in the area, including at the Norman Music Festival.
“I know that Michael and Ruth have built such a community around them through music and art and just their loving, generous spirits,” Carson said. “It was amazing to watch the way everyone came together.”