CROWDS of well-wishers paid tribute to drummer Gerry Hunt with a standing ovation as the lymphoma sufferer took to the stage on Saturday for the very first time since his relapse a year ago.
The 62-year-old musician surprised spectators and his own family by performing alongside his sons and fellow Shred bandmates Jamie and Darren at a concert held at the Rodbourne Cheney Working Men’s Club to raise funds toward alternative medical treatment.
Gerry, of Wroughton, was diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011 before entering remission in early 2013. But by August of that year he was told the cancer had returned.
Three weeks ago, despite an aggressive course of chemotherapy and stem cell transplant, the drumming teacher was told by doctors they had exhausted all options and he was given two to four months to live.
Gerry’s family immediately started an appeal for funds to cover the cost of alternative therapies not yet available on the NHS.
Thanks to the generosity of Swindon residents and the popular concert, the campaign has so far raised close to £3,000 – £2,000 of which have already been used to pay for six months of homeopathic treatment to boost Gerry’s immune system.
Last month, the thought of Gerry, who was unable to eat and had difficulty moving, performing in front of a 200-strong audience would have been unimaginable.
“To see him play was just amazing,” said his daughter-in-law Lindsay, 34.
“It was emotionally charged because the last time he played was last July. His little grandchildren were dancing.
“Gerry was tired but I think all the support he has received gave him a boost, and the strength to go on.”
The mother-of-two from West Swindon added: “Gerry has already embarked on an alternative treatment with Timothy Part, a homeopath from Chippenham, and we have been able to cover a six-month course of treatment, which cost £2,000, with the money donated.
“I can’t get over the fact that it’s all happened in the space of three weeks.”
Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic system, which forms part of the body’s immune system.
His son Jamie, 34, said: “While dad is strong and positive and showing signs of improving, we want to move forward. He is showing energy and he is managing to eat, which he wasn’t able to do at all. The concert was a great opportunity for people to show their support face-to-face.”
And there have been new developments on the NHS front as a new drug, Pixantrone, has now been introduced, which should help prolong his life and give the Hunts valuable time to explore private cancer treatments.
To make a donation to Gerry, visit www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/gerry-wants-to-kick-cancers-ass-/167901