Mum hopes local community can give her son ‘a chance at life’

Donal O'Regan

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Donal O'Regan

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donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

Mum hopes local community can give her son ‘a chance at life’

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to raise money for Kevin Bourke's treatment

AN INCREDIBLE €20,000 was raised in one day for a popular young man with a rare form of inoperable cancer.

However, the Go Fund Me target for Kevin Bourke, from Newport, is €100,000. Kevin first developed severe neck pain in 2016 but an MRI didn’t show any abnormalities. No one could find what was wrong. 

In 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, 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, according to his mum Mary. 

“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, who is currently looking after him in the family home in Newport. She describes Kevin as “the most positive person” she knows.

His options for treatment are now limited. Kevin’s body isn’t able for more chemotherapy and now needs to switch to immunotherapy treatment to give him the best chance possible.

He did apply for funding but was rejected because he doesn’t qualify. The cost per infusion is €8,085 and it's forecast that Kevin will need a minimum of eight infusions for it to work, say organisers of the fundraiser.

The community of Newport have banded together to try and raise the much needed funds immediately. Immunotherapy is not as hard on the system as chemo is; doesn’t have as much nasty side effects; will improve the quality of Kevin’s life and give him the best option to keep the cancer at bay

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 is a sports fanatic. He has played soccer with Newport Town AFC and played hurling with CLG 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.

He loves travelling and has seen a lot of the world. Kevin 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.

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 TV,” said Mary.

She says if they can raise this money it would mean that the community has given her 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,” said Mary.

Donations can be made online at https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-kevin-bourke-treatment-fund