THE FAMILY of a vicar diagnosed with a rare cancer say they are ‘overwhelmed’ after £50,000 was donated in five days to pay for his emergency treatment.
Rev Graham Coles, vicar of St Mary’s in Cubbington, has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma on his tongue.
Doctors say it is growing ‘extremely rapidly’ and has already started to spread.
But the 60-year-old, who is receiving care at University Hospital Coventry, was told treatment will be delayed due to the pandemic – which saw him contract coronavirus last summer.
His family set about attempting to raise £50,000 for the father-of-four to receive treatment privately.
And in five days the £50,000 total was exceeded.
The vicar will now undergo the procedure at the end of January at Guy’s Hospital in London by Mr Alastair Fry, who specialises in the operation.
In a statement his children said: “Our father has suffered with cancer on and off since 2001. Despite being given the all clear in 2012, last year as he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma.
“Unfortunately, this cancer is growing extremely rapidly and has already started to spread. Due to the devastating impact of covid 19 on the NHS and the capacity in hospitals, we had to think outside of the box in order to get this urgent treatment.
“We are absolutely overwhelmed by the response to Rev Graham’s fund-raising campaign.
“We are truly grateful and humbled and the response from you all will never be forgotten. Rev Graham now has a surgical date at the end of January and we are praying nothing stops that surgery.
“We love our NHS and a few of us in the family have worked for many years within it, but undoubtedly the pandemic is impacting on waiting times for life-saving cancer surgery, hence why we had no choice but to seek treatment in the private sector.
“Cancer is an ugly, undignified disease that destroys family life. We thank each and every one of you that you are giving Rev Graham another chance of life, whereby he can hopefully continue to love and support others.”
Visit www.gofundme.com/f/help-rev-graham-get-emergency-cancer-surgery for more information.