Surfer Blood Lose Donations for Ailing Guitarist in Van Theft

Band loses "thousands of dollars in personal items and show settlements" as well as funds raised for cancer-stricken Thomas Fekete

Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images Entertainment

Surfer Blood hit a setback in their efforts to raise money for guitarist Thomas Fekete after the band's touring van was broken into Saturday on the outskirts of Chicago. Throughout Surfer Blood's tour in support of their new LP 1000 Palms, the band have been collecting donations for Fekete, who left the group after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer

Surfer Blood had played Chicago's Lincoln Hall Friday night. "Not only did we lose thousands of dollars in personal items and show settlements, but we also lost all cash donations we collected for Thomas over the last 8 shows at our merch table," the band told fans on Facebook (via Stereogum). "This last detail is perhaps the most heartbreaking of all in that so much positivity and amazing generosity could be ruined by one bad person(s)."

Surfer Blood also told fans to keep an eye out for some one-of-a-kind guitar pedals in Chicago-area pawn shops, as that might lead to the culprit. The band's instruments were not stolen in the robbery, and their tour will continue as scheduled.

In April, Fekete announced that he would leave Surfer Blood in order to battle "a very rare and aggressive" form of cancer that had spread to his spine and lungs. In addition to undergoing chemotherapy, Fekete hoped to pursue an "alternative treatment plan" that wasn't completely covered by his health insurance. "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," Fekete wrote in April.

While Fekete's GoFundMe set up an initial goal of $76,000, fans helped the guitarist easily tackle that figure. A new benchmark of $120,000 was established, with over $83,000 already raised. "Any extra funds collected when this is all said and done will be donated to further my doctor's alternative cancer research," Fekete wrote. "I not only feel great, but I am in great spirits, and I know this will soon be over like a bad dream."

In recent weeks, Surfer Blood have played a couple of benefit shows for Fekete, including one at New York's Bowery Ballroom and another in their hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida. It's unclear whether the revenues from those shows were part of the theft.