Fundraiser for Minnesota musician battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer

Ed Ackerson's band Polara has a star on the wall at First Avenue.
Publish date:

One day after being launched, a GoFundMe campaign for a Minnesota musician has generated more than $24,000. 

The online fundraiser is for Ed Ackerson and his family. Ackerson, a long time Minneapolis musician who is internationally known as a producer, was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer "just over a year ago," the fundraiser explains. 

"He is tough as nails and he has fought back with everything he’s got, but this is a deadly disease with a low survival rate," the campaign explains. "Ed, his wife Ashley and their beautiful 4-year-old daughter Annika all need your help to keep fighting for now and for the future." 

Ackerson has been in the music scene for 30 years, both as a producer and recording artist for his bands The Dig, The 27 Various, Polara, and BNLX. As noted by long time former Twin Cities radio DJ Jason Nagel, Polara performed at the inaugural Basilica Block Party in 1995. 

Polara is among the bands with a star on the outside wall of First Avenue in Minneapolis. 

Ackerson has owned and operated Flowers Studio on Hennepin Ave. in Minneapolis for two decades, but cancer treatments have "forced Ed to dramatically scale down his paying projects," essentially cutting his income by more than 75 percent. 

All donations will go to help provide both now and in the future for his family. 

Ed Ackerson issued a statement to publicly reveal his battle in September. He wrote:

"We’d been keeping this quiet, but since Pete Townshend hinted at it at The Who show last week, it seems like a good time to talk.

"One year ago, I got some very unexpected news: I have stage four pancreatic cancer. Working with a team of top people from Mayo Clinic, I’ve been fighting it super hard. This news has been kept to an extremely small group of people so far, but my condition has recently become more challenging, and it seems like a good time to tell everyone. One of the reasons I’ve kept it quiet is because I want to keep my focus on the positive energy of rock and roll, and my family and friends, rather than dwelling on the illness and attempting to answer unanswerable questions. Despite it all, I’ve been in an amazingly creative period musically, with a couple of brand new sonic collaborations in the works. I can’t wait to share some of these new sounds soon.

"In the meanwhile, my family and I would appreciate your support as we make the best of a very serious situation. We will keep you posted on my progress, future events and things we may need assistance with. Also, please understand that I will not be able to reply to messages and other communications in order to stay focused on my family, health and music. Peace love and happiness – Ed"

According to his website, Ackerson is a Stillwater native who now makes his home in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. 

Next Up

court gavel

Minneapolis man sentenced to 30 years for death in robbery gone wrong

James Moore was sentenced in the death of Malik Smith.

Em1jOWyWEAwspXK (1)

St. Paul homicide suspect arrested by FBI in Chicago

A 34-year-old Minneapolis man was killed in the Nov. 14 shooting.

Sanford Health

Sanford Health 'parts ways' with CEO after his face mask comments

Kelby Krabbenhoft had been with the company since 1996.

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day 2020?

Most services will not be running on Thursday and unlike most years, many stores will be closed, too.


How a turkey's brush with celebrity in Bloomington came to a tragic end

DNR: if you care about wild animals, stop feeding them

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers/Badgers football game canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not take place for the first time since 1906.

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.


Husband and wife sentenced for fraud scheme through their drywall firm

The Annandale pair bilked an insurance company out of more than $300,000.


4 pedestrians suffer life-threatening injuries after being struck by vehicle

Two vehicles crashed into a car that was on the side of the road after striking a deer.


Ed Ackerson

Entertainers pay tribute after death of beloved Minnesota musician

Ackerson was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2018.

Rikki Wold

Family 'holding up the best we can' after 4 cancer diagnoses

Four cancer diagnoses in a month and a recent death of a loved one.

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 10.23.47 AM

Minneapolis musician, 2 British rockers killed in wrong-way crash

The 37-year-old man was on tour with British band Her's.

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 7.22.38 AM

Neighbors rally in support after boys fall from apartment roof

One of the boys, age 2, died in the accidental fall.

Riley Taylor

Family 'devastated' by 4-year-old's death in hot car

A fundraiser aims to help the family grieve without financial stresses.

Jim Hagedorn

1st District Rep. Jim Hagedorn updates his battle against kidney cancer

The 57-year-old was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer in Feb. 2019.

Tessie Sylvester

Mother dies after battle with cancer diagnosed hours after husband's death

The Sylvester family has experienced a double tragedy.