29-year-old Kevin Bourke, from Newport, Co. Tipperary has a very rare form of inoperable cancer. (thymic squamous cell carcinoma). His options for treatment are now limited. He is currently on round three of a four round cycle of chemotherapy but it’s not enough. Kevin’s body isn’t able for more chemo and now needs to switch to immunotherapy treatment to give him the best chance possible.
BUT, It’s not free. (He did apply for funding but was rejected because he doesn’t qualify).
The cost per infusion is €8,085 and its forecast that Kevin will need a minimum of eight infusions for it to work and there could be many more needed down the road as well as other unforeseen expenses.
To this end, the community of Newport have banded together to try and raise the much needed funds immediately. Please give what you can to help raise the money we need to in the short few weeks available to us. If you aren’t in a position to give you can help by sharing this page on your socials with people far and wide.
If enough money is raised for Kevin to have the required immunotherapy infusions, the treatment will act differently to chemo. It works on the immune system to help fight the disease. It’s not as hard on the system as chemo is and doesn’t have as much nasty side effects and more importantly it will improve the quality of Kevin’s life. This gives him the best option to keep the cancer at bay
Kevin first developed severe neck pain in 2016 but an MRI didn’t show any abnormalities in December of that year. Despite numerous visits to physiotherapists and pain management specialists no one could find what was wrong. Early 2018 Kevin developed shortness of breath while out walking and in May 2018 a chest x-ray revealed a cancerous mass in his left upper chest. Kevin was told this was inoperable due to its proximity to his heart. IV chemotherapy began immediately which proved promising. However, in early 2019, another tumour developed on his skin, again treated with chemo but more bad news followed with yet another growth close to his heart developing.
Despite being utterly shocked with the news that he had cancer, Kevin came to terms very quickly with the diagnosis and very matter of factly according to his mum. “He never let it get to him. He made a decision there and then not to even google it. He just asked what’s next and has since been following the doctor’s plans to get him back on track. Even on his darkest day, the days he is so weak, he still remains positive and I’m so proud of him for this,” said Mary Bourke, Kevin’s mom who is currently looking after him in the family home in Newport.
Kevin, who completed a Masters in culture and colonization in NUIG, was working as a digital marketing executive up until his diagnosis in Limerick. He shared a house with his younger brother Ruairi.
Kevin, whom Mary describes as “the most positive person” she knows, is a sports fanatic. He has played soccer with Newport Town AFC and played hurling with C.L.G Tulach Sheasta for many years. The Bourke family lived in Roscrea until 2005, where Kevin’s late father John was from. Kevin settled in Newport when he was a teenager and attended St. Mary’s Secondary School where he developed so many wonderful friendships.
Kevin, before being struck down with cancer, has seen a lot of the world. He taught English in South Korea and went to Canada for a while. It’s his dream, when he gets better, to visit South America with friends.
Kevin’s mom Mary said she hopes “the community can give her son a chance at life. We just don’t have this kind of money for the treatment but if we don’t get it for him I don’t know what will happen. It’s now down to the wire. This needs to happen immediately. Chemo will soon not be an option as his body can’t take it anymore,” said Mary.
“To be honest up to now the whole community in Newport has shown just how great they are. People who Kevin never even met have arrived at the door with holy water, holy medals, prayers, offers of help and good wishes. We have been so humbled by this kindness; it makes the whole process a little easier on us all.”
“It warms my heart to see so many of Kevin’s pals call to see him all the time. There are times where there is a gang of lads in the living room sitting with Kevin, checking in on him, sharing the weekend’s sports on tele,” said Mary.
Mary continued, “If we could raise this money it would mean that our community has given my son a fighting chance. The doctors can do all they can do but if we aren’t in a position to pay for it then Kevin simply can’t get it. People in Newport have been so giving and so loving so far and we would be lost without them.”
PLEASE HELP BY DONATING WHAT YOU CAN.
Sean O'Brien, friend of Kevin and a treasurer on the committee who is part of the fundraising campaign is a signature on the bank account for all donations. He will ensure Kevin gets access to all the funds to make sure he is provided with the care required.