Mama Cares is a program of the Madison Area Music Association which helps musicians in their time of medical emergency or family crisis.
Christmas 2014 was a normal one for the Robert J. and Jill Conaway family, filled with the wonders and blessings of the season. They had no way of knowing that a rare bacterial infection had taken hold in their son Jacy’s left temporal lobe and was about to turn their life upside down. By New Year’s day, Jacy’s headaches had become more severe. He was admitted into the hospital where he underwent emergency brain surgery. After seventeen days in the hospital, Jacy finally came home. Although they had health insurance, the loss of work, copays and other outside costs left them with mounting bills.
In April 2015 Robert’s good friends, Rick Tvedt (founder of the Madison Area Music Association) and Chris Wagoner (fellow Moon Gypsy band member with Robert) organized a benefit to help his family through their financial hardship. It was an overwhelming success. Over 350 people attended the High Noon Saloon event and the generosity left Robert and Jill feeling overwhelmed. “It was one of the most humbling moments of our life,” said Robert. “We knew we had to find a way to give back, to pay it forward, so we proposed the MAMA Cares program, provided some seed money and the Jacy Ray Fund was established.”
Since then, MAMA Cares has kept the program moving forward by hosting fundraisers and collecting donations. MAMA Cares has been able to help a growing number of Madison musicians with their medical hardships and in their time of need, thanks to the generosity of its donors