George Telek MBE. Source: bandcamp
By Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
We know his all too familiar vocals, from songs about love, culture & traditions to freedom for our neighbours in West Papua. Now in his late 50s, George Telek, has had a colourful life as a musician.
But in the midst of it all, Telek has discovered rather unfortunate news. Last month, the musician was diagnosed with a malignant and aggressive tumour on his mouth. He is now in need of immediate medical attention in Australia.
A crowdfunding page has been set up to raise funds for his medical expenses. The page set up by Wantok Musik is calling on people who have been touched by George Telek’s music to make a donation.
“We need to raise $60,000 to cover costs of surgery, radiation therapy, reconstruction of the mouth and speech pathology costs. George will also not be able to perform for up to six months so any money remaining will go towards supporting George and his family while he is unable to earn an income.”
Only on the first day, over AU$1,000 was donated. Currently, just over AU$13,000 has been raised with more donations expected.
The extent of the cancerous tumor in Telek’s mouth has affected his ability to sing. And part of the campaign is to support the much-needed reconstruction of his mouth so he can be able to sing and spread the love of PNG music.
“The surgery will involve removing the cancerous growth, removing lymph glands in his neck and then reconstruction of his mouth. Due to the nature of the cancer it will also involve radiation therapy to remove any remaining cancerous areas.”
According to PNG World Health Organization Country Representative, Dr William Adu-Krow, Papua New Guinea is at the top of the list globally in terms of having the highest incidence rate of oral cancer.
“Oral cancer was ranked number 11 globally in terms of prevalence; however in PNG it is ranked as the number one cancer killer in males in PNG and the third amongst for females. For both males and females, PNG leads the world with the highest number of incidence rate for mouth cancer.”
George Telek has been in the music industry for over 30 years starting off as the lead singer of Painim Wok Band, and later going solo in the late 90s. His music is loved both nationally and overseas. Apart from winning an ARIA Award for Best World Music Album among others, Telek received an MBE in the year 2000 from the Queen, for service to the development of local music.
To make a donation or for more information, visit the crowdfunding page or contact Wantok Musik on email email@example.com