Cancer survivor Gareth Grayston to take to the stage at Ipswich Regent to spread message of hope
- Credit: Archant
A brave Ipswich man who was diagnosed with bowel cancer aged just 27 will be singing for joy and spreading a message of hope at a special fundraising concert in the town.
Gareth Grayston, 33, of Maudslay Road, was diagnosed in 2009 but was determined to beat the disease and has now formed a vocal group called Diamond, which is backing Cancer Research UK’s Stand Up To Cancer 2015 campaign – which aims to raise money to fund research.
Gareth, who trains Costa Coffee workers for Odeon Cinemas, said: “I was told I was the youngest patient at Ipswich Hospital ever to be diagnosed with bowel cancer. It had spread to my bladder and I had to have part of it removed.
“It was weird – at the time it didn’t seem real. I had an eight-hour operation and afterwards I needed a colostomy bag and a catheter. Then came the chemotherapy.”
Gareth said his family were devastated by his illness – but shared his determination to get him better.
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He added: “My parents Linda and Aidan and sister Gemma live in Ipswich and once I was out of hospital they were always coming round bringing me things. It was a difficult time but I just got through it by focusing and jumping one hurdle after another.
“I was determined to get over everything – I didn’t want to let the cancer keep me down, and now I’m past the five-year mark without cancer I’m very happy.” After beating cancer Gareth was determined to get back to a normal life and recuperate, but as time went on he felt the urge to return to his passion for music and to give something back by helping to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
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He added: “Before I was ill I used to enjoy singing. I put an advert out and auditioned people for the group.
“There are seven of us – vocalists and musicians – and this concert marks our second-year anniversary. We really mash things up, take old music and make it more modern and mix things up – we do Diamonds by Rihanna and mix it with Jessie J’s Price Tag.
“As well as me the group features Clare Collins (a mum-of-three ), Jo Raven ( a school teacher), Sarah Lloyd (a care worker), Pippa Jacob (architect), Charlie McAuslin 19 (a bar worker ) and Aidan Elsey, 22 (who works in distribution).”
Gareth’s group will be staging an event, Diamond’s Concert In Aid Of Stand Up To Cancer, at Ipswich Corn Exchange on Saturday, October 3, starting at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £13. Also on the bill are singer/pianist Benjamin Bloom, the Just Jay dance group, duo Avenir Avenue and singer James Burriage (corr), an Open Mic UK winner.
Gareth said: “The acts all offer something different. We really want to bring people together to enjoy themselves and to raise awareness of cancer.
“This is the first time we’ve put on an event of this scale.
“This cause is very close to my heart but everybody knows somebody who has been affected by cancer, and people appreciate our campaign.”
For more details of the concert, visit www.ipswichregent.com or call 01473 433100.