Elizabeth Schauermann was tired of people giving her confused looks whenever she talked about hemophilia, which affects her two nephews and her father. Developing a way to raise awareness of her family’s bleeding disorder became her mission and true passion.
“Any time I talked about any kind of bleeding disorder, I would get a blank stare. I knew I had to do something about that,” says Schauermann, 38, of Roseville, California, who works as a patient advocate for people with bleeding disorders. “I wanted to come up with big, bright, exciting events that anyone would want to go to or be a part of. The idea is to get the general public involved in these events, which would also introduce them to the bleeding disorders community.”
In 2016, Schauermann and her father, Bob Seaton, founded Music for the Cause (MFTC), a nonprofit that uses music to attract people to fundraising events. MFTC has hosted barbecues and fishing derbies featuring up-and-coming musicians, all to raise money for the bleeding disorders community. Money raised is distributed to families in need through the Hemophilia Foundation of Northern California, of which Seaton is a board member.
“Music for the Cause is truly a labor of love,” Schauermann says. “It’s a way that we as community members can make a difference on a national level and beyond. We strive to serve and highlight our blood brothers and blood sisters so that one day everyone will have heard about the bleeding disorders community. I have dreams of putting on a fashion show in New York City and creating a music festival focused around the winners of our National Charity Songwriting Competition.”
Creating a nonprofit inspired by music was a natural fit for Schauermann, who has a background in musical theater, and for Seaton, a lifelong musician.
“By the time I was 5, I had a trumpet,” says Seaton, 65, who lives in Auburn, California. “I started my first band in the fifth grade. Growing up, the majority of my bleeds were in my lower extremities, but I had my hands and lips. When I was in eighth grade, my lips split, and I was no longer able to play trumpet. That’s when I started playing guitar. Having hemophilia in the 1960s, I had lots of timeouts and needed something to have fun with and pass the time. Guitar was that for me, one of those constant things in my life.”
To bring greater exposure to bleeding disorders, the father-daughter duo launched the Music for the Cause National Charity Songwriting Competition. The inaugural edition kicked off in late 2017 and by the time the winners were announced in March 2018, there were nearly 500 entries to judge. Through a music industry liaison, Schauermann and Seaton connected with several songwriters and recording artists who signed on as contest judges, including Chris Mann from NBC’s The Voice. “They loved it,” Schauermann says of the industry pros. “They just threw their hearts into it.”
The competition has two contests: one for the public and the other for the bleeding disorders community. Both award a $5,000 grand prize, plus cash prizes for second and third place.
The second edition of the contest accepted submissions through May 15, and Mann and other celebrity judges were back on board. Artists submitted original songs from any genre. The contest entry fee is $25 per song, but the fee is waived for members of the bleeding disorders community. “That $25 fee goes to raise funds for families in the bleeding disorders community,” Schauermann says.
Contest finalists are selected by the judges and through online voting by the public. The inaugural competition winners were Los Angeles artist Andrew Eapen, who won the grand prize in the Bleeding Disorder Songwriting Competition for his song “Lips,” and acoustic duo One Step Closer, also from Los Angeles, who took home the grand prize in the Public Songwriting Competition for their song “Lover Tonight.”
Family is the inspiration behind MFTC: Schauermann’s nephews, Lawson, 6, and Prescott, 3, both have severe hemophilia. The boys love music and have begun to help spread the word about MFTC’s events, creating their own call-to-action video on social media and sharing invitations with neighbors and schoolmates.
“Lawson and Prescott are starting to get into it,” Schauermann says. “It’s really cool, because it’s all for them.”
Meet the Winners
Music for the Cause’s 2019 National Charity Songwriting Competition garnered hundreds of entries. Meet the winners in the bleeding disorders and the public categories.
Bleeding Disorders Competition
Trevor Martin, “Way Back Home”
Kevin Leurquin, “Dreams”
Chayse Pannell, “When Love Comes True”
Tennille Amor, “I Am a Girl”
Haley Weed, “Wire”
Alexa Marino, “Hum in a Chorus”