Rush's Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson Suggest Donating to Charity in Peart's Memory

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At the end of an announcement confirming the death of their bandmate and lifelong friend Neil Peart, and asking for privacy to mourn, Rush singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson suggested donating to a cancer charity in his memory.

Peart, the exceptional drummer and lyricist for the top-selling Canadian prog-rock trio, died Jan. 7 from glioblastoma, the same aggressive form of brain cancer that killed The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie.  He was 67.

"It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and band mate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three and a half year battle with brain cancer (Glioblastoma),” they wrote.

“We ask that friends, fans, and media alike understandably respect the family's need for privacy and peace at this extremely painful and difficult time. Those wishing to express their condolences can choose a cancer research group or charity of their choice and make a donation in Neil's name.”

The influential Toronto band has sold more than 40 million albums over 45 years, including Fly By Night,  2112, Hemispheres, A Farewell To Kings, Moving Pictures, Test For Echo, and more recent Vapor Trails, Snakes & Arrows, and swan song, Clockwork Angels, their 19th studio album.

Over the decades, Rush has given to and performed for innumerable causes, big and small, from disaster relief to cancer to hunger to the environment, worth millions. On their last series of tours alone the band donated over $2 million to various charities simply by earmarking $1 from every ticket sold.

In 2017, Rush was awarded the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award at Canadian Music Week and donated the accompanying $40,000 prize from the Slaight Family Foundation to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Sunnybrook Foundation and matched the amount. In a rare opportunity, Samaritanmag spoke to Lifeson and Lee about their philanthropy.

Upon learning of Peart’s passing, Kevin Shea, the former associate director, public relations for The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, posted about Peart’s significant contribution to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

“Very quietly behind the scenes, Neil Peart, Rush and Anthem Records helped me immeasurably at Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer,” he wrote. “Neil’s custom NHL drum kit, used to record ‘The Hockey Theme,’ went on the five Canadian dates of the band’s final ’Limelight’ tour, giving fans the opportunity to sit behind the iconic kit and get their picture taken for a $10 donation. At the end of the dates, every dollar went to support cancer research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre through Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer. I wish I could remember how many thousands were donated to this cause through this extraordinary act of generosity.”

At the time, Elizabeth Long, public relations and promotion manager for the Drum Workshop Inc. told Samaritanmag, "the final funds raised during the hockey kit tour and the autographed memorabilia for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation...is $25,547.28. CAN."

Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.