Manic Street Preachers help disabled musician pay for vital surgery

Ali Hirsz needs corrective surgery after a previous operation severed the nerve to her trapezius muscle, causing it to waste away

Manic Street Preachers have donated money to help a musician who was struggling to pay for a vital surgery.

Ali Hirsz, who sings as part of Cambridge indie band Idealistics, is in need of corrective surgery after a previous operation severed the nerve to her trapezius muscle, causing it to waste away.

The 22-year-old suffers from an incurable connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Due to a vascular compression on her small intestine, she also needs to be fed via a tube.


“My skin is like tissue paper, it tears really easy,” she told the BBC.

After the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the live music industry, stopping her band from earning an income, she turned to her fans for help in raising money for the surgery which is not available on the NHS.

Last week, she set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of £1,000, which she said left her “sweating with nerves” before posting as she had “never asked for money before”. However, once she reached £500, the Manics stepped in and paid the rest.

“I was in tears,” she said of the moment the donation arrived. “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.'”

She added: “It’s such a relief.”


Hirsz’s condition has already stopped her from playing bass, as she has little feeling in her left hand, and hasn’t been helped by the fact that COVID-19 has forced her to leave her day job as a horse trainer because she needs to stay at home and shield.

Hirsz said the response to her campaign has been “overwhelming”, and after reaching her goal of £1,000 within the first 24 hours, she has since increased her target to £5,000.

“Because the surgery’s not been done before, we don’t know exactly how much it’s going to cost,” she explained. “I know it’s a hard time for everyone so all these donations mean everything.”

Meanwhile, Manic Street Preachers have rescheduled their Cardiff Arena shows for the NHS until July 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Welsh rock veterans were due to play one free gig for NHS workers and another fundraiser gig for health service charities this December at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, but the gigs will now take place next summer.

The free concert for NHS workers will now take place on Friday, July 16, with charity gig open to the public now set for Saturday, July 17. All original tickets remain valid, and anyone who can’t attend is urged to contact Ticketmaster for a refund.