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Campaign started to aid ailing Be Good Tanyas singer Samantha Parton

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TORONTO - Samantha Parton of the Juno Award-nominated Be Good Tanyas has had a year almost too ghastly to believe.

It began with a serious car accident last September, in which Parton was sitting in the passenger seat of a friend's car in Salt Spring Island, B.C., when they were struck from behind by a pickup truck moving at a high speed. She was left with a concussion as well as multiple injuries to her neck, back and shoulders. She had to cancel fall tour dates after an attempt to play through the pain proved unsuccessful.

Just as she was beginning to recover, Parton was involved in another car accident in April. During the initial recovery period, meanwhile, a CT scan meant to probe for lingering problems from the concussion revealed a benign tumour.

The scan also revealed an aneurysm behind Parton's left eye large enough to require surgery.

That procedure is scheduled for Monday. But after watching Parton struggle for the past year — a period in which she hasn't been able to tour or make a living — her friends have looked to the Vancouver roots band's fanbase to help ease Parton's mounting financial burden.

Using the online fundraising site Indiegogo, Kori Miyanishi has started a campaign seeking to raise $15,000 to help see his close friend through a difficult time. After putting the link up on Sunday night, more than $7,500 has already flowed in on Parton's behalf.

"It's been a really good response — she has a lot of friends all over the world," Miyanishi said in a telephone interview this week. "She's a really community-oriented person, she's always been generous with her music and her personality and it's time to get it back to her."

Once Parton has the surgery, her recovery time could take anywhere from six weeks to a year, Miyanishi says, a timeline that could be complicated by the lingering pain from the car accident.

With Parton's blessing, the Be Good Tanyas — who were up for roots and traditional album of the year at the 2007 Junos — have continued touring, with a European trek set for late August.

But Miyanishi, as well as the Be Good Tanyas' manager Mandy Wheelwright, are both certain that Parton will do what she can to rejoin the band upon her eventual recovery.

"Music is part of her," Wheelwright said. "So for her to not have music be part of her life would be a very profoundly hard thing to deal with."

Meanwhile, Wheelwright says that the "vivacious" Parton has been a "real trouper," while Miyanishi adds that his friend has tried to maintain her robust sense of humour throughout the ordeal, an obviously tricky task.

Even the Indiegogo campaign took some convincing.

"She was reluctant to do something like this because she is so very humble and essentially is a quiet and private person," he said. "She doesn't necessarily like a lot of attention. It took me a little bit of prodding.

"(I said), 'look, you've got a lot of friends and people who would like to help you, who if they knew the state of what you were going through and what you've been through, would jump on it right away.' So I think we're starting to see that."

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Online: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/samantha-parton-needs-our-help?c=home

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