Musicians are noted for their generosity. Examples abound of musicians both famous and little known giving gifts both large and small.
Big names from Taylor Swift and Elton John to Rihanna and Willie Nelson have donated millions to charities.
A former bandmate of mine spent thousands to have a custom made guitar built and gave it to one of his students.
Musicians routinely donate their time and talent for worthy causes.
Heather Platts’s generosity went beyond donating time, talent or money.
She donated one of her kidneys.
Platts, who will be performing at the Riverside Hotel’s Sapphire Room on April 28, has been playing music most of her life. A native of Washington state, she majored in music composition and piano performance at the University of Idaho. A Twin Falls resident since 1996, she now writes, teaches, and performs music.
In 2014, searching for someone to produce an album of her material, she met Bruce Michael Miller online. Miller was a Nashville singer-songwriter and producer. She went to Nashville, he produced her record and they fell in love. So much so that Miller left his longtime home in Nashville and moved to Twin Falls, where they began performing as a duo called Crazy Love.
“When I got to Idaho, I wondered what there was to do here,” Miller said. “Then I learned about the local geography and nature. There’s just something about the desert and the open spaces here. I’ve come to really love Idaho.”
Neither of them will forget the 1,800-mile journey from Tennessee to Twin Falls.
“We drove here from Nashville in a Subaru Outback with a U-Haul trailer and 17 guitars,” Platts said.
A challenging journey for a person in perfect health. Miller wasn’t. He had been suffering for years from kidney disease.
“I was into alternative medicine and was trying to stave it off with lifestyle changes,” he said. “I refused to believe that I was going to have a transplant or dialysis. I thought I could fix it.
“When I came to Twin Falls, I found a kidney doctor. My numbers by then had started to plummet quickly. I was down to 10 percent kidney function. The doctor told me to go to a dialysis center and learn about dialysis.”
Platts accompanied him to the appointment.
“I was stunned to realize the gravity of the situation,” she said. “I went home and started Googling information about transplants and how to become a donor.”
Hedging his alternative-medicine bet, Miller had already put himself on a waiting list for a kidney.
The wait can be as long as eight years.
So Platts started checking on whether she could be a donor.
Bruce never asked me, and we didn’t talk about it,” she said. “But as I learned more and found that I could be a donor for him, it became obvious that it was a chance for me to save his life. … On average, 13 people a day die waiting for a kidney. I was blessed with good health. I was able to donate mine and still have a perfectly normal life.”
The transplant surgery was on Aug. 5, 2019 in Salt Lake City.
Platts was in the hospital for three days, including the day of the surgery.
It was “four weeks before I could return to work, and by six weeks I felt almost completely back to normal. Not a bad trade for saving a life!”
She was the one who donated the kidney, but she says she received more than she gave.
“Initially it was a gift I was giving to Bruce, but the fact is the gift is actually mine. We all try to do good things but it’s those defining moments when we say yes to something big that we feel truly alive. It’s those defining moments that I think wake you up to the fact that life is incredibly precious. I’ve become part of the next chapter of Bruce’s life. I can say I’ve been a factor in the future of another human being. For me, that’s an incredible gift.”
They say the gift changed both of their lives for the better.
“Heather not only saved my life, but I’ve changed as a result of her generosity and love,” Miller said. “I have a new sense of how precious life is, and I feel that I want to live in a way that makes me worthy of her gift by being more giving and present, by being kinder and more compassionate to others.”
Their April 28 Crazy Love show at the Sapphire Room, with special guest Dan Costello, is titled “The Big Give.” They’ll be telling their story, playing and talking about the songs they’ve written and providing information on how to become a kidney donor.
“We try not to be preachy about it,” Platts said.
Mostly, the evening will be about music. Platts is a talented pianist with a beautiful voice. Miller is first-rate guitarist and a good enough singer that he sang backups at a Paul McCartney concert in the Hollywood Bowl.
Tickets are available at sapphireboise.com.
If you go, you’ll hear some good music and interesting stories.
Who knows? You might even end up donating a kidney that saves a life.
And getting a gift of your own.