We first reported back in March of 2011 that Phil was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of lymph tissue found in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, bone marrow, and other sites.
In the beginning all of the news seemed to be positive with good progress reports but there were mountains of medical bills. Phil, being a full time, self-employed musician, had no medical insurance but fans and fellow musicians rallied numerous times with benefit concerts to raise funds. Even Pinecastle Records stepped up to offer a Phil Leadbetter package of 4 CDs with all proceeds going to the fund to help Phil’s expenses.
But the news wasn’t always so up-beat and Phil’s particular strain of cancer stubbornly wanted to win the battle. Through it all, his family, friends and fans never stopped the prayers and best wishes. Most importantly, Phil never gave in. Today the prayers have been answered!
Phil’s note reads:
“My stem cell doc just came through and said, " Mr Leadbetter......you have done exceptionally well with your stem cell. I’ve got no reason to keep you here". Then he shook my hand and said, " you are gonna do just great". I have been discouraged at times, but I have NEVER doubted once that this day wouldn't come. Each time I got a bad report, my faith and determination just got stronger. I walked in these doors with cancer, I walk out cancer free !!!!!”
In 2005 he was voted International Bluegrass Music Association "Dobro Player Of The Year". That year he also won "Instrumental Album Of The Year" for his CD "Slide Effects". His song "California Cotton Fields" held the #1 spot on the National Bluegrass Chart for two consecutive months in 2005.
Phil is currently in the nomination pool for the 2012 IBMA Dobro Player of the Year Award.