Dad faces brain tumour battle
David Gibbs, who has a brain tumour, with his three-year-old daughter Molly in Page Park
FAMILY, friends and strangers are coming together to help a Staple Hill dad fund treatment for a devastating brain tumour.
David Gibbs, who is 37, was diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive cancer of the brain and spinal cord, in September. He underwent an 11-hour operation at Southmead Hospital to remove 95% of the tumour in October.
Dave, who is married with a three-year-old daughter, is undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy but has been told they will not stop the tumour from growing back again without further treatment – and the average survival time from diagnosis is 12 to 18 months.
His family have discovered a new treatment called a personalised cancer vaccine, which sequences genetic information from the patient and tumour to help the immune system target and attack the cancer cells. But the treatment is not available on the NHS and Dave would need to go to Germany or America to have it privately, over a period of a year or more, at an estimated cost of £85,000.
His sister Sarah Burford has set up an appeal on crowdfunding site JustGiving.com.
Dave's family and friends have been spreading the word about his situation on social media, with support from celebrities including Matt Lucas and Chris O'Dowd.
Within three days of the appeal's launch the total raised had passed £37,000, from more than 760 donors.
Dave said: "It has been amazing.
"People have been so kind and generous – it's not just friends and family, we have been getting people we don't know donating."
Dave, who works as a technical sales engineer, grew up in Downend and met his wife, Gemma, a buyer for Airbus, while they were both at Downend School. They have been together for 20 years.
Dave said Gemma is "heartbroken" by his diagnosis, while his daughter Molly is too young to understand.
He sought treatment during a family holiday in Herefordshire, after headaches he had been suffering became unbearable. He was transferred to Birmingham for a biopsy and, after returning home to Bristol, a second biopsy confirmed the cancer.
Dave said the diagnosis was a "huge" shock but Bristol surgeon Richard Edwards had done an "amazing" job in the delicate operation.
He said: "We knew surgery was fairly risky but it gave me the best chance."
Sarah said: "Dave is a much loved Daddy, husband, son, brother, uncle and friend, and we need to keep him around.
"They are a loving, happy family and have always worked hard but are unable to fund alternative treatments by themselves.
"Please donate and help give Dave the chance to beat this tumour. We love him so much and want him in our lives for as long as possible.
"Dave is not one to ask for help, instead always offering to help others and putting others before himself. But now, we need your help, every donation big or small can make a huge difference and is greatly appreciated."
Dave's friend Bob O'Brien said: "They have the biggest hearts of anyone I know and they wouldn’t think twice before helping other people out. Now it’s our turn to help them. We all want to do everything we can to help Dave keep being the brilliant friend, husband and dad he is for as long as possible."
Sarah's fundraising page for Dave can be found online at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/davesbrainfund.
Any unused funds will be donated to brain tumour charities to help support other families and fund much needed research.