AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, or HAAM, kicked off HAAM Day on Tuesday, and for the second year in a row, the event is virtual because of COVID-19.
The 16th annual fundraiser aims to raise $1 million to help provide musicians with access to affordable healthcare.
HAAM offers affordable healthcare services, including access to primary and specialty care, dental, vision, hearing, wellness, and mental healthcare services to Austin-area musicians.
More than 2,600 musicians are insured through HAAM’s program, and since 2005, the nonprofit has provided more than 5,600 musicians with over $83 million in affordable healthcare services.
The event will be live streamed on HAAM’s Facebook, and from 7-9 p.m, it will air on KBVO.
For musician Alejandro Rios, the nonprofit saved his life.
“I had a very, very important surgery happen,” Rios said recalling. “I had a condition known as Chiari malformation which essentially long story short my skull was too small for my brain.”
That created a massive cyst along his spine. One that doctors say if gone untreated could have ruptured and paralyzed the 27-year-old musician.
“I was just finally able to take care of that surgery because the pandemic hit,” he said.
Rios said he couldn’t have done without HAAM assistance guiding him through the process.
“I was able to be completely subsidized like all of my costs and I was like this is insanely beautiful,” he said. “I’m just very blessed and I’m glad that I live in Austin are musicians are really cared for.”