Rhonda Kennedy

Many people first knew Rhonda Kennedy through hearing her deep, comforting voice on KBOO, where she had a wildly popular show with Fiona Martin called “The Goddesses of the Airwaves”. She started singing at 19 and has sung with a number of groups, perhaps best known in Portland for the group she formed, and performed with, Women in Blues.

Rhonda KennedyNot only is Rhonda a talented singer. She has until recently been a caretaker for a gentleman with multiple sclerosis. During her live-in situation with him, she was rushed to the hospital and it was then that she discovered she had Stage 3C2, Grade 2 endometrioid adenocarcinoma – uterine cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes in her pelvis and aorta. She has had a full hysterectomy and has started chemotherapy treatments and will then probably do a program of radiation.

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The Jeremy Wilson Foundation
ATT: Rhonda Kennedy
1028 SE WATER AVE STE 230 PORTLAND, OR 97214

(Make checks payable to The Jeremy Wilson Foundation and put Rhonda Kennedy in the note section of your check as your desired recipient.

PLEASE NOTE: (We are required to state this) Your contribution is made with the understanding that the Jeremy Wilson Foundation has complete control and administration over the use of your donated funds.)

 

Meet Rhonda Kennedy: Life, Music & Living with Cancer. from The Jeremy Wilson Foundation on Vimeo.

More About Rhonda
“Rhonda is a very talented artist with a huge heart and vision. She supported so many others, it’s time we support her.” –Tony DeMicoli, music booker and owner of Key Largo

I first met Rhonda back in the 80's when Michael Burgess introduced us. He thought Rhonda had a great voice for talent work and he was right. We made some money together but more importantly, we became close friends. Rhonda is one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. One of life's mysteries is why things like this happen to such good people. I guess we just have to learn the lesson and try to move on. I hope Rhonda's friends will give back to her in support a little of what she has given to her friends for so many years. It's an honor to help Rhonda. -- Sam Downey Rhonda's long-time manager and friend

“I first met Rhonda back in the 80’s when Michael Burgess introduced us. He thought Rhonda had a great voice for talent work and he was right. We made some money together but more importantly, we became close friends. Rhonda is one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. One of life’s mysteries is why things like this happen to such good people. I guess we just have to learn the lesson and try to move on. I hope Rhonda’s friends will give back to her in support a little of what she has given to her friends for so many years. It’s an honor to help Rhonda.”  Sam Downey Rhonda’s long-time manager and friend

Rhonda established a reputation as a person of the heart for her work behind the scenes with music and spirituality. After writing an opera about the Dalai Lama, Rhonda met His Holiness on a visit to India and found herself at the center of a movement she called Artists for Tibet, which was designed to raise awareness of the plight of that beleaguered nation. She brought the first Tibetan Monks here to work at the Portland Art Museum, building a Sand Mandala that took days to create and, in keeping with the Buddhist tenet of impermanence, only moments to deliberately destroy. The ceremonial destruction included Rhonda going to the Willamette River with the monks to release the sand into the river in a sacred ritual for which she definitely did not wear the right shoes. That was just the first of many adventures she had with her monks. Rhonda produced The Beastie Boys as their road manager when the band played music accompanied by her group of Tibetan Buddhist monks. They appeared in Lollapalooza under her management in 1994.

“Onstage, Rhonda has always been a force of nature, a tornado of musical heart and energy and magnetism.  Offstage, she has so much warmth and humor and that same heart, energy, and magnetism.  She has a generosity of spirt and a deep spirituality.  It’s hard to think of this amazing woman laid low by cancer and our economy, but now it’s time for us all to pay back a little of what Roaddahh X has given us all.”  Jessica Richman, Rhonda’s friend and Lighting Director

Everyone who has meet Rhonda knows she is one of the kindest and gentlest people one will ever encounter. She is so giving that one must be cautious about complimenting her on anything she owns because she will insist on giving it to you on the spot. Literally.

“Rhonda has been a hugely positive influence in my life. She generously helped me find work on several occasions, calling into play her network of friends and contacts, and she brought spirituality and kindness into a cynical time in my life. It was more than 25 years ago that we volunteered together every Sunday at KBOO, but I still vividly remember our conversations about art, Tibetan Buddhism and love. Plus a lot of fun and laughter. God I love your laugh Rhonda, keep on chuckling. She gave me great advice many times, on taking a longer-term view of things. She shocked me once when we debated on the environment - it was a revelation to me how deeply she was invested in a more spiritual than physical level. When we interviewed musicians on our radio show she always asked them about their creative process, a question I still ask people today, always with a mental thank-you to her.” Fiona Ortiz (nee Martin)

“Rhonda has been a hugely positive influence in my life. She generously helped me find work on several occasions, calling into play her network of friends and contacts, and she brought spirituality and kindness into a cynical time in my life. It was more than 25 years ago that we volunteered together every Sunday at KBOO, but I still vividly remember our conversations about art, Tibetan Buddhism and love. Plus a lot of fun and laughter. God I love your laugh Rhonda, keep on chuckling. She gave me great advice many times, on taking a longer-term view of things. She shocked me once when we debated on the environment – it was a revelation to me how deeply she was invested in a more spiritual than physical level. When we interviewed musicians on our radio show she always asked them about their creative process, a question I still ask people today, always with a mental thank-you to her.” Fiona Ortiz (nee Martin)

Rhonda has spent the past few years working as an interior designer until recently when she took a position as a caretaker for a gentleman with multiple sclerosis. During her live-in situation with him, she was rushed to the hospital and it was then that she discovered she had Stage 3C2, Grade 2 endometrioid adenocarcinoma – uterine cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes in her pelvis and aorta. She has had a full hysterectomy and has started chemotherapy treatments and will then probably do a program of radiation. Her current prognosis is a five-year survival rate of 35%. We are praying that with the treatment she can improve those odds.

Rhonda has moved from a nursing care facility to an adult foster care home. When she was unable to continue as a caregiver, she lost her home, her job and her transportation. She is homeless and is dependent on Medicaid for her medical care and current living arrangement. Her belongings are in storage while she undergoes treatment. When she is stronger, it is hoped she can move to independent living in her own home again.

We are planning fundraising events but, in the meantime, all contributions to Rhonda’s care are greatly and gratefully appreciated.

“Rhonda was the link that led me to the Dalai Lama in 1992. Thanks to her, I met His Holiness when I crewed on a documentary film team in Seattle that year. Knowing Rhonda is like that; you never know what the next amazing spiritual synchronicity will be that’s going to unfold, thanks to her!” David Michael Smith