The very worst news
Greg has been treated for IBS for a while and his GP didn’t think it was a major issue. Gastro consultants and dieticians had confirmed the IBS diagnosis. At the end of October, Greg was experiencing some severe abdomen pains and vomiting that led him to be admitted to A&E. After an x-ray, we were told that they had a found a cancerous blockage in his bowel. After further investigation, we were told the devastating news that the bowel cancer has also spread to his lungs and because of the extent of these tumours, they would only be able to offer him a 12 week course of chemotherapy as he is currently not a candidate for surgery to remove the primary tumour in his bowel. We were told this heart breaking news on our daughter Bay’s 1st birthday. I cannot put into words the terror and shock of this moment. To hear Greg ask the consultant how long he had left to live is the darkest moment of my life and something that will haunt me forever.
We have also had the terrible news that Greg is genetically incompatible with the only free immunotherapy drug available on the NHS. There are other drugs that would match his gene profile, most notably Avastin for advanced bowel cancers, but it is currently not funded by the NHS.
Our hope for the future
However, we are not prepared to accept this bad news lying down. Greg is an otherwise fit and healthy 39-year old man who has never smoked, taken drugs and has rarely even drunk alcohol. Through extensive research and correspondence with specialist clinics in the UK and abroad, we have discovered new and groundbreaking treatments. These are targeted treatments such as stereotactic radiotherapy, microwave ablation and personalised immunotherapy. These have had astounding results on others that share the same prognosis as Greg. The treatments are currently not offered on the NHS due to not meeting their cost efficiency criteria. We have always been huge advocates for the NHS but this is just heartbreaking - I just cannot let Greg die and our daughters grow up without their daddy because of money.
We need help
These treatments are expensive. We are using all of our own money but it is nowhere near enough. Like most people in the UK, we have no private medical insurance so it is hard to comprehend that we need to raise at least £100,000 to give Greg any chance of survival. Greg has begun his chemotherapy but we need money to be able move quickly when this finishes in mid March.
I know Greg will not mean the same to you as he does to me but I know his music and art have touched people all over the world. He has so much left to give – Delays have new songs that they want to release and tour, he has sketchbooks filling our home with ideas for drawings and paintings and of course, we have 2 baby girls who absolutely adore him. We desperately need him to be here to watch them grow up.
The supportive messages we have received from around the world are lifting Greg each day and keeping us positive. We are desperate to make this Christmas special for our girls and go into 2017 with hope for the future. We are so thrilled by the requests we have had about organising fundraising events which we welcome and encourage any ideas to help our cause.
We would be so grateful for your support and generosity. We cannot do this without your help, which is why I am asking for you to share our page, spread the word and please donate whatever you can to help me save the life of the most magical person I have ever known.
I’ve been very quiet of late but wanted to update you on our situation.
Greg is still undergoing chemotherapy and has two sessions left. When this is done, he will have a CT scan to see if the treatment has had any effect. We know that chemo will not be a cure and whatever happens next depends totally on these results. Because of this, we have been able to do very little except wait. We have our fingers crossed that the results will show that Greg will become a candidate for bowel surgery and that we can then look at specialist laser surgery for his lungs. We have yet to spend any of the money we have raised but this next phase of treatments will need to be done privately as they are not available on the NHS.
The chemotherapy treatment has left Greg very weak and extremely fatigued but he seems to have gained energy for producing art. He is using this to cope with the treatment and processing a lot of difficult emotions – you can see his convalescence drawings on Instagram at Greggilbert_artist.
I’ve also wanted to update you on our fundraising for Greg’s treatment. Outside of my GoFundMe campaign, there have been lots of events for Give4Greg over the past 4 months and personal donations sent straight to me. I have added these as a one off donation for £40,574 so the overall total now stands at £204,000. THIS BLOWS MY MIND! I can’t thank you all enough but have shouted out to the amazing venues, events and magical humans involved in such fantastic contributions this year in the comment section of the donation, please do have a look (I’m so terrified of doing this in case I forget something, please do let me know if I have!). A massive thank you to all the people who have given individual donations to us personally, there are far too many people to name but your generosity is overwhelming.
We are working with Fight For Lives on our next big fundraising event for Give4Greg – a football tournament at Saints grounds, St Mary’s Stadium on Friday 26th May. If you would like the chance to play, get involved or come to the after party at Café Grand, Southampton, please follow this link:
To be so close to our target in 4 months is humbling. I know the current climate in the world is shaky and sometimes that can make it hard to engage in more difficult subjects but I would appreciate you sharing our campaign again. Any more ideas for fundraising events are very appreciated. As well as raising the money for Greg’s life saving treatments, I am dedicated to generating greater awareness of the difficulty in accessing cancer treatments. This isn’t just about us, it’s about all of us and our families.
I wanted to take a moment to give you an update on Greg. It's difficult to put into words how things are here - we are blown away on a daily basis by the generosity and kindness of people but the severity of our critical situation still bubbles beneath.
After Christmas, we had some more very difficult news - after more genetic testing, we have been told that no immunotherapy treatments will be suitable for Greg. This is very bad news because immunotherapy is hailed as the new breakthrough in cancer treatment and where all the money and research is. We have also been told that the drug Avastin we first thought could help would only extend Greg’s life by a few weeks.
This is an enormous blow. It's taken me a while to regroup but I’ve dusted myself off and am ready to fight because that’s what mums have to do. We have been warned that to find specific drugs and treatments for him, we will need more funds than we had previously thought – realistically, it looks like we will need a minimum of £250k. If we were to go to the US for treatment, I have been quoted around $15,000 for a consultation – this fee wouldn’t include treatment, accommodation or travel. This is so hard to comprehend, I can't tell you how scared I am to know I have to find this kind of money to give Dali and Bay a chance to grow up with their daddy.
Greg will be undergoing further genetic testing here in the hope that we can identify a treatment that can help rather than just eliminating those that can’t. I aim to have timescales and a definitive amount that we might need to raise as soon as possible but hope people can appreciate the enormous task researching this is, especially while I am looking after Greg and the girls. In the meantime, I will be raising the target of this page to £250,000.
We have seen people’s hearts and it is an overwhelming experience to be enveloped in that love. The fundraising donations, events and support continue to lift us. A good place to follow all the events, gigs and activities that are being organised is the Give4Greg Facebook and Twitter pages, should you wish to support any of them, including the following:
Friday 17th February at the 1865, Southampton featuring Delays, Band of Skulls, Mystery Jets and other special guests. Tickets are £30 and available at:
Tuesday 14th February at The Brook, Southampton featuring Birdpen, Dead Rabbits, The Novatones and Sean McGowan. Tickets are £10 and available at:
Get Valentine by Delays to number 1, see the Facebook page at:
We would be nowhere near where we are today without this unbelievable support. To feel you with us on this journey with no map or compass is such a comfort.
Name: Miss A D Heale
Sort code: 40 42 18
Account number: 72769328
Many many thanks
This situation is absolutely heartbreaking. Granted, I've been a Delays fan for several years and will always fondly remember seeing them at The Lamp in Hull in 2006/2007 . But this is about a partner, and a father. Being a father to three young children myself, I can barely imagine what you and your fiance are going through. Reading the circumstances has touched me to my core. It is an incredibly cruel situation. I really hope the required funds can be met, and your children can see their enormously talented Dad grow old, and him see them grow up. Things like this really make you reflect on how fragile life is, how short, and how important it is to spend it meaningfully and make time matter. Best wishes for Christmas and the new year. You're in mine and many others thoughts. I will donate shortly.
Hi Greg, not sure if you remember me, I bought your Nan's house in South Road and we had a few online conversations about the spooky goings on there after I saw your amazing sketch of the house pop up one day on FB. I am speechless at your diagnosis and have a little idea of the myriad of emotions you are all experiencing. My beloved other half was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer at exactly this time last year...he is also a musician so I feel a bit connected to you in many ways. As hard as it is, keep as positive outlook as you can, I am convinced this was pivotal in Geoff's recovery from this awful disease. I don't do religion, but I prayed every day last year and will do the same for you and your family x x Kim
The amount raised in the past three days is astounding and a real testament to human kindness in these trying times. Everyone who has donated so far, you are a part of the beacon of hope in this really bleak year we have had. You are demonstrating the foundations of human nature and human decency. Lets smash that 100k, the progress made so far is incalculable! I really want to donate more but living on a low income with three younglings puts a bit of a strain! Keep it going...we can do this :)
I forgot to mention, on the day of a Delays gig back in 2004, I was diagnosed with Melanoma hours before the gig. That night Greg and the guys rocked it at the Academy 2 in Birmingham. It was a distraction and the following albums have always been optimistic to listen to ... a pick me up on the train home having been told I couldnt have Immunotherapy or even sentinal node biopsy. Been a fan since Easyworld, Longview and Captain ... Living in Nashville, TN and I migrated here with all those singles, albums and gig ticket stubs and memories in my suitcase. Best of luck Greg!!
Thinking of all affected and the joy that has come from the music! How awful to be left so long and with little help after the discovery. I understand the fear of metastatic cancer myself and with family members and friends also affected. Wishing Greg a successful fight.
The Delays' music was my university soundtrack. 'Long time Coming' was also my wife and I's wedding song - their music has been integral throughout my adult life. I also lost my brother to cancer aged 25, it was a rare form which, I'm sure, would have been treatable with the right medical attention. I've just donated but if their is anything else we can do, however small or large, we will do it. I also a father with a one year old. Greg will win this battle.
Hi. What a tragic story but there is always hope. Please look up my friends story and campaign here on GoFundMe. Her name is Claire Cunningham and her story is truly inspirational. She had 4 days to live when she arrived at The Hallwang Clinic in Germany. After 5 weeks of treatments ( mainly immunotherapy ) she is now walking , talking and living again !! She had cancer absolutely everywhere , there wasn't a part of her body free of the terrible disease, however it is going / disappearing after immunotherapy has taught her body to fight it. It is truly remarkable and she was also told it wouldn't work for her. It has !!!! Please don't give up hope and read her story. Claire was home for a few days at Christmas and travelled back yesterday to Germany for more treatment. It is costly .. she has sold everything she has and set up this funding page to help... but it has given her a life back. Please read it and we wish you all the very best. Take care xx
Hi Stacey, I had my first surgery just one year ago for a breast cancer and a second one in March, all went ok because I found it at a very early stage. Anyway, I totally know how you and Greg feel... so please have a look to this link http://fondazionecnao.it/it/ It's a centre of excellence in Italy and Europe for inoperable or chemoresistant cancers but a very few people knows about that. I wish you all the best for the future, hold on tightly!
Big love to you man, and your exceptional fiancee. We aren't letting you go anywhere, there's enough love here and strength from you and us to help you through this. I've admired you for years and are one of the most charming men I've ever met in my life. I'll keep spreading out the word as we need talented beautiful people like you in the world, now more than ever. MarcusMIDI xx
An amazing amour of money in such a short time, really is heart warming and that message from Stacey summed it up perfectly what it means. Maybe some kind hearted record label could re-release faded seaside glamour on vinyl, make the most of its resurgence and raise more money that way. Had the pleasure of seeing the delays on numerous occasions and loved every minute, happy Christmas everyone