Picture Gallery: Kilkenny comes out in force for John's Big Band Night

Shauna Mc Hugh


Shauna Mc Hugh



Generous Kilkenny locals raised crucial funds last week in aid of John Holmes. John is a 53-year-old father of two who was diagnosed with an advanced metastic neo endocrine tumour in 2012. 

John’s best chance of beating this rare condition is through a course of injections of a drug named Pembrolizumab, which is not currently licensed by the HSE. John requires an injection once every three weeks, with each injection costing him €5,111.

The JohnNeedsPembro committee was established by John’s family and friends to fund this life-saving treatment. Last Tuesday the group held a Big Band Night in the Club House Hotel, featuring music from the 15-piece Bold as Brass band and singer Sylvia Knox. A raffle in aid of John was also held on the night.

Over 50 people attended John’s musical fundraiser, raising €1,050. John’s school friend Kieran Conway said that local support has been “genuinely incredible”. Having been in business in Kilkenny for over 30 years, many of John’s friends and associates have been touched by his situation.

More than €11,000 of the committee’s total €150,000 goal has now been raised. A “particular indignance” of John’s illness is that his Pembro medication includes hefty VAT, which has caused added  financial difficulty.

“This miscategorisation of revenue has added 23% to our target figure,” explained Kieran. “We are currently lobbying to amend this.

“We can’t afford to think of this as a distant goal. The brutal reality is that John needs this money urgently, at least €5,000 every three weeks” Kieran concluded.

Anyone can donate online to John’s Go Fund Me page. Money can also be donated in person to the John Needs Pembro account at St Canice’s Credit Union.

All are welcome to attend the upcoming fundraisers, including a table quiz in the Orchard House Bar tomorrow (Thursday) and a special fundraising breakfast on Thursday, December 6 in the Club House Hotel.