Tribute to Rush Drummer Neil Peart

The legendary drummer lost his battle with glioblastoma in January.

Neil Peart, the drummer for the rock band Rush, is widely recognized as one of the greatest musicians of all time. Any conversation on classic rock simply must include him and his band. Peart passed away this year after a 3 ½ year battle with glioblastoma. He fought the disease valiantly, but the deck was stacked against him from the start.

Glioblastoma is an unrelenting foe; with tentacles like an octopus's that creep through the brain, it is almost impossible to fully remove. In fact, surgery can often make the cancer even more aggressive when it inevitably returns. The current standard of care for glioblastoma involves surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy. And this difficult course of treatment is not a cure. Only 5% of patients survive 5 years after diagnosis, and only 50% survive past 12 months.

Neil's glioblastoma was certainly not the first painful challenge he had to confront in life. In 1997, his daughter Selena died in a car accident in Toronto. Not long after, his first wife was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. At that time, he retired from Rush and took a motorcycle trip across the US. But by 2000, he had remarried, and in 2001 he rejoined Rush.

Throughout his entire career, Neil stayed true to his individualism, his beliefs, and his craft; as a result, his fans loved him and Rush. An oddball in high school he called out to others trying to find their own voices. Rush's breakthrough album entitled 2112 featured a 20-minute science fiction song by that name, with lyrics written by Neil and inspired by the writings of Ayn Rand. The album was an unexpected success and propelled the band to stardom. Rush was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2013 and completed its final tour in 2015.

Neil never gave up on his values or his vision. In a 2015 interview, he stated, “A compromise is what I can never accept." Neil’s ethos resonates with the Glioblastoma Foundation. Like Neil, we refuse to settle for the way things are. We do not accept the current standard of care for glioblastoma--so with your help, we are supporting cutting-edge research that is moving us toward individualized, effective treatment options. Our scientific advisory board is composed of physicians, pharmacists, public health experts, and others who are devoted to determining how best we can leverage our resources to get results.

Clockwork Angels was Rush’s last album. The lyrics of the final song on that album, “The Garden,” read “The future disappears into memory/With only a moment between/Forever dwells in the moment/Hope is what remains to be seen.” For so many years, hope is all glioblastoma patients have had. With your help, the Glioblastoma Foundation can give them more.

To learn more about the Glioblastoma Foundation or to donate in Neil's memory, please visit us on the web at

The current standard of care for glioblastoma consisting of radiation and chemotherapy is ineffective.

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