Published Aug 20, 2020Apart from being one of Canada's most celebrated bands, Rush have long been lauded for their work as humanitarians. Their history of lending time and resources to causes at home and away earned them the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Award in 2016, and guitarist Alex Lifeson has now been honoured individually for his efforts in HIV/AIDS initiatives.
Lifeson is one of three recipients of the 2020 Casey Award, an annual honour from Toronto HIV/AIDS hospital Casey House that celebrates "individuals and organizations across Canada that demonstrate leadership in social justice and commitment" to the condition.
"Alex Lifeson has a personal connection to Casey House and has been an inspiration there for more than 20 years," the hospital writes of the artist in a release. "Casey House founder June Callwood, who passed away in 2007, referred to him as an 'ardent supporter.' When still located in their original space in a Victorian house, Lifeson would come to small social events, bring his guitar and sing along with clients and guests."
Lifeson's work with Casey House also included fundraising to expand the hospital between 2010 and 2015. Last year, Lifeson donated funds to help build a healing garden and rooftop terrace for inpatients at the hospital's new facility.
Lifeson receives his 2020 Casey Award alongside Haran Vijayanathan and the M·A·C AIDS Fund. Past recipients include Rick Mercer and frontline harm reduction advocate Zoë Dodd.
Earlier this year, Lifeson admitted he had played "very little" guitar since the passing of longtime friend and bandmate Neil Peart. In 2018, the Rush axeman teased a new project with drummer Marco Minnemann.