Sunday 23 July 2017

Cancer treatment appeal for Delays star Greg Gilbert 'needs more money'

Lead singer of British indie band the Delays, Greg Gilbert, has been diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer
Lead singer of British indie band the Delays, Greg Gilbert, has been diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer

A crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Delays lead singer and guitarist Greg Gilbert has surpassed its £100,000 target in 48 hours, but more is needed to cover the "mind-bogglingly expensive" cost of cancer treatment.

Gilbert's fiancee Stacey Heale has said "the very biggest thank you" to those who donated after launching the appeal on the Go Fund Me website to raise money to send the singer to receive treatment overseas.

However, Ms Heale said, in a video posted online, that they have been speaking to experts around the world and have learned they need to raise more than initially thought.

Father-of-two Gilbert, 39, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer which has spread to his lungs, but is ineligible for surgery to remove the tumour in his bowel on the NHS.

According to Ms Heale's fundraising page, Gilbert is "genetically incompatible with the only free immunotherapy drug available on the NHS" and that other drugs could work for him but they are not funded by the NHS, meaning he needs to travel abroad for alternative help.

In the new video, posted after the target had been hit, a tearful Ms Heale said she and her family had been "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of support and that it seems "crazy" to ask for more.

She said: " We've had a lot of specialists contact us from around the world, which has been amazing because what we need is knowledge, we need information about the very best treatment, and the very best places to go that can give us the change.

"But what we're hearing from these people, which is hard, is that £100,000 - and this seems crazy saying this, it's such a phenomenal amount of money - is probably not going to be enough for what we need.

"These treatments are mind-bogglingly expensive. We're looking at, as front-runners, the US and Germany and just one treatment, one go of ion-proton therapy or we're looking at personalised immunotherapy, could cost £90,000.

"I don't know where you start with that. They've advised us we need to raise more money, this is crazy for us."

Gilbert was previously treated for irritable bowel syndrome before being blighted with severe pains in his abdomen, leading doctors to discover a cancerous tumour.

The family are "not prepared to accept this bad news lying down", Ms Heale wrote in her first plea for financial aid.

"Greg is an otherwise fit and healthy 39-year old man who has never smoked, taken drugs and has rarely even drunk alcohol."

She previously explained they had been looking into "groundbreaking treatments" including "stereotactic radiotherapy, microwave ablation and personalised immunotherapy".

Over 4,800 people have donated to the Give4Greg campaign, raising more than £113,000.

In a Facebook post Gilbert - who learned of his diagnosis on his youngest daughter's recent first birthday - sent a message to thank those who have donated and also NHS staff who continue to help him.

He wrote: "I can't begin to express our gratitude - not a penny is being taken for granted and we've been moved to tears many times over the last few days reading the supportive messages from not only friends and family but also strangers from all over the world."

He added that his is "not an isolated situation, unfortunately - there are many, many people suffering with cancer who don't have the wonderful support of family and friends like I have or the benefits of the band's dedicated and selfless fanbase.

"I can't imagine how it must feel and I truly hope the campaign can in some small way benefit them going forward."

"The NHS is beleaguered at the moment but it's so important to me that I emphasise just how wonderful the staff have been - they have worked tirelessly and gracefully under immense pressure and shown limitless empathy, not only with me, but in all of their interactions I witnessed.

"They need our support if the NHS is to remain the egalitarian vision it was intended to be."

The Delays were formed in Southampton in 2001 and its current members are brothers Greg and Aaron Gilbert, and Colin Fox and Rowley.

They have seen two of their four studio albums reach the top 30 in the UK Albums Chart, with their debut record Faded Seaside Glamour hit number 17 in 2004.

Press Association

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