Manic Street Preachers Help Disabled Singer Ali Hirsz Pay For Surgery


Manic Street Preachers Help Disabled Singer Ali Hirsz Pay For Surgery

A singer from Cambridge will be able to have vital surgery, thanks to the Manic Street Preachers.

Ali Hirsz needs the trapezius muscle that runs from her neck to her shoulder rebuilt, in an operation that isn’t available on the NHS.

After Covid-19 robbed her of income from live music, she had to ask fans to help raise the money for the operation.

Her initial crowd-funding goal was £1,000 – but once she reached £500, the Manics stepped in and paid the rest.

When the donation arrived, “I was in tears,” she tells the BBC.

“I love them anyway, they’re such a great band, but £500 is so unbelievably generous. I thought, ‘I can’t believe they’ve done that.’

“It’s such a relief.”

Representatives for the Manic Street Preachers confirmed to the BBC that the donation had come from the band.

‘Very stressful’

Hirsz, who sings with an indie band called Idealistics, has an incurable connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

The condition means “my skin is like tissue paper, it tears really easy,” says the 20-year-old. A vascular compression on her small intestine also requires her to be fed via a tube.

She needs corrective surgery on her shoulder after a previous operation severed the nerve to her trapezius muscle, causing it to waste away. As a result, her shoulder blade dropped, affecting the blood supply to her arm.

The condition has already forced her to stop playing bass, as she has little feeling in her left hand.

She says she has “never asked for money before” and was “sweating with nerves” before posting her crowd-funding request last week.

But the campaign became necessary after coronavirus wiped out her band’s concert diary; and Hirsz had to leave her day job as a horse trainer because she was shielding.

In the the meantime, she says, she received no financial support from the government’s furlough or self-employment support schemes.

“It is very, very stressful, particularly in times where you don’t have money lying around anyway,” she says.

Disabled musicians ‘on a tightrope’

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Hirsz says her story is typical of disabled musicians, who have found themselves left high and dry by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Singer-songwriter Chloe Mogg, who has both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, agrees the last six months have been “really, really tough”.

“The NHS is doing an amazing job at the moment but, especially with chronic fatigue syndrome, it seems like all the invisible illnesses have been pushed to the side,” she says.

“We’re walking on a tightrope and we don’t know if we’re going to fall off at any stage.”

Manic Street Preachers Help Disabled Singer Ali Hirsz Pay For Surgery



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