Fans and Good Samaritans are rallying around artist and musician Greg Gilbert, the vocalist/guitarist of Southampton indie band Delays, following a shock diagnosis of stage 4 bowel cancer.
According to the band, and Gilbert's fiancee, Stacey Heale, the "otherwise healthy" 39-year-old has "never smoked [or] taken drugs, and has rarely even drunk alcohol", making the discovery of a blockage in his bowel — which had spread to his lungs by the time doctors properly identified it — legitimately unexpected.
In a plea made on social media, Gilbert's band-mate and brother, Aaron, explained the band had been "out of action publicly for a while now", and that "one of the reasons we've been away for so long has been because of Greg's health".
"After two years of being examined and endlessly misdiagnosed by specialists, Greg was admitted to hospital a month ago where we found out he has bowel cancer that has also spread to his lungs," his brother wrote on Facebook.
"It has come as a huge shock to us all and feels like a tidal wave of dark has washed over us. I spend my days worrying about things that never happen and then this sweeps in like a hurricane through the side door.
"I can't even for a minute imagine a world without my brother in it, it doesn't even nearly fit into my tiny mind and never will."
The sudden yet belated diagnosis — doctors had previously dismissed his ailment as irritable bowel syndrome — means that Gilbert has immediately commenced chemotherapy and inherited all the associated costs that come with expensive medical treatment. Aaron and Heale have consequently set up a GoFundMe page to aid with Gilbert's medical expenses, and the response has been swift and vigorous so far, with the past three days of campaigning having netted £52,980 of an overall £100,000 goal, and counting.
Along with his musical pursuits, Gilbert is also an accomplished artist, having even exhibited at the Southampton City Art Gallery this year. He and Heale have two daughters together, Dali (3) and Bay (1).
"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," she wrote in her crowdfunding summary. "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 band formed in Southampton in 2001 as Corky, changing their name to Idoru then, ultimately, Delays. Along with the Gilbert brothers, the roster includes bassist/vocalist Colin Fox and drummer "Rowly".
They have released four albums to date — Faded Seaside Glamour (2004), You See Colours (2006), Everything's The Rush (2008) and Star Tiger Star Ariel (2010) — and have been working on their fifth since 2012. They also scored an appearance and sync deal for 2003 British sports comedy film Blackball.