Music News

Surfer Blood Launches Campaign for Guitarist Thomas Fekete's Cancer Treatment

There's something special about a local band that makes it big. Fans feel a unique connection to the hometown kids who manage to do what so many can't. In Broward and Palm Beach Counties, we don't have many national acts to be proud of.

But one of the bands that has made us proud over the last five years is West Palm Beach's Surfer Blood. The band, made up of lead vocalist and guitarist John Paul Pitts, guitarist Thomas Fekete, bassist Kevin Willians, and drummer Tyler Schwarz were launched into the national spotlight with the 2009 single "Swim". Pitchfork named the song number 37 on its list of the 100 best songs of 2009.

Since then the band has released two albums, and is releasing its third one, 1000 Palms, next month.

But Surfer Blood's latest struggles aren't musical at all. Thomas Fekete, Surfer Blood's lead guitarist and backup vocalist, has cancer.

Fekete had surgery a few months ago to try and remove a large tumor from his abdomen. Since then, his cancer has spread to the lungs and spine. Now, Fekete's cancer requires further, more intense treatment.

As anyone who has undergone a series disease knows, it takes its toll on all involved. Not just physically or emotionally, but financially. Now Surfer Blood has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Fekete's treatment.

The band posted this statement on Facebook today.

Thomas has been playing guitar in Surfer Blood for nearly 6 years, but since December has been sidelined by treatment for cancer. We miss him everyday on the road but we know he is incredibly strong and we have faith in him, and in his doctors. We hope you can help with a donation of any size, and help spread the word by sharing on social media. Thank you so much for the support!
Fekete has issued the following statement:

Hey all, 

A few months back I had a major surgery to remove a large tumor from my abdomen. I was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive cancer (a sarcoma), which unfortunately has moved. A few days ago, my doctors informed me that it had spread to my lungs and my spine. 

The lesion on my lower spine will be treated with radiation, and I’ll also start chemotherapy this week. Because my cancer is so rare, there is very little research on it (cancer treatment is a business after all), so going to a typical doctor and getting loaded with all types of drugs would probably kill me. However, I found a doctor who is on the cutting edge of cancer treatments, and we have assembled a team of brilliant doctors who all seem to be extremely confident in an alternative treatment plan, to complement the chemotherapy. Because these doctors are doing things a bit differently, insurance will only cover a portion of my treatment. I never in my life thought that I would be asking for money publicly, but the universe works in funny ways. 

Any bit of help would be massive for me, as I'm no longer able to tour and make a living, and my wonderful wife/best friend whom I just married in November will now be leaving work to help me throughout my treatment. If you can't help, no worries whatsoever, all I ask is that you spread the word. Any extra funds collected when this is all said and done will be donated to further my doctor's alternative cancer research. I not only feel great, but I am in great spirits, and I know this will soon be over like a bad dream. Please take care of yourselves, enjoy every single day. Life is beautiful. Love and light always.


You can find Fekete's donation page here. It has already raised over $10,000. And you can stay up to date by liking the band's Facebook page.

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Ryan Pfeffer is Miami New Times’ music editor. After earning a BS in editing, writing, and media from Florida State University, Ryan joined the New Times staff in November 2013 as a web editor, where he coined the phrase "pee-tweet" (to retweet someone while urinating). Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, he’s now neck-deep in bass and booty in the 305.
Contact: Ryan Pfeffer