New Brunswick

Hip fan with same cancer as Gord Downie seeks tickets to sold-out show

A Moncton man who has the same terminal brain cancer as the Tragically Hip's lead singer Gord Downie is hoping a social media campaign will get him tickets to see his favourite band play the last show in its sold-out summer tour.

Jason DeRoche, 39, of Moncton, 'eats, sleeps and breathes' the Hip, wife says in social media plea

Jason DeRoche, a 'huge' Tragically Hip fan, was recently diagnosed with the same form of terminal brain cancer as lead singer Gord Downie. This is a picture attached to the post circulating on social media, asking for tickets to the Hip. (Submitted)

A Moncton man who has the same terminal brain cancer as the Tragically Hip's lead singer Gord Downie is hoping a social media campaign will get him tickets to see his favourite band play the last show in its sold-out summer tour.

Jason DeRoche, 39, was diagnosed with the aggressive, incurable form of cancer called glioblastoma multiforme just over two weeks ago.

"Gord and I now have the same condition, and [my wife and I] were just joking around — 'Wouldn't it be great if we could get tickets and I could go see them one last time?'"

Amanda DeRoche started a social media campaign to get her husband, Jason, tickets to see his favourite band play its final show in its sold-out summer tour in Kingston, Ont., on Aug. 20. (Tori Weldon/CBC)
Tickets for the highly anticipated Man Machine Poem tour sold out in seconds before popping up at dramatically inflated prices on resale sites like StubHub. So, hoping to score her husband some tickets, Amanda DeRoche turned to Facebook, seeking tickets to the Aug. 20 concert in Kingston, Ont.

"To say that he is a devoted fan of The Tragically Hip, would be an understatement," she posted. "He eats, sleeps, and breathes The Tragically Hip. He has been to the shows in our area, and a few in other places. The reason I am writing, is to throw out a line in hopes that someone will hear, and answer our story."

"His strength, optimism, and determination through all of this garbage, is absolutely amazing. As his number one fan, I would love nothing more, than to be able to send my hero to see his hero in concert, one last time."

"Aside from just sitting around being emotional support, this is something I can physically do for my husband," she explained in an interview. "So, I thought, 'How great would it be to send him to see the Hip?'"

The couple didn't have high expectations for the post, but thought it was worth a shot.

"And now we've got people all over the country saying really kind things and offering their support it's really been overwhelming," said Jason DeRoche.

With the post being shared more than 4,000 times in just over 24 hours, DeRoche is starting to feel hopeful that the plan just might work.

"They've just been the band that I've always listened to my entire life. You know, sometimes I go a week without listening to them, and I go, 'I got to listen to a Hip song.'"

Trying to stay positive

It was about six weeks ago when DeRoche started to feel "a little clumsy." When the pinky finger on his right hand stopped working, he went to the doctor.

He was diagnosed with a brain tumour, lost feeling in the entire left side of his body, and had brain surgery. Then he got the devastating news — the tumour was cancerous.

The Tragically Hip announced in May that Gord Downie, the lead singer and lyricist of the iconic Canadian rock band, has terminal brain cancer, but still plans to join his bandmates of more than 30 years for a summer tour. (Clemens Rikken/Canadian Press )
"And that it was the most aggressive kind, glioblastoma multiforme, and so on Monday I start radiation and chemotherapy and start working hard to get healthy again."

DeRoche said the terminal cancer can't be cured, but it can go into remission.

"It's been a whirlwind of emotions, up and downs, no positives and it feels like you get kicked in the gut a little bit."

Despite this, DeRoche and his wife come across as upbeat.

"We've been trying to stay really positive. We've been trying to deal with it through humour. We crack a lot of jokes," he said, adding, "We have our moments."

DeRoche said even if tickets don't materialize, having supportive words pour in online from across the country has boosted his spirits. But if he does get the tickets, he'll feel like he's ahead by a century.

And though he said he doesn't mean to be picky, he can only go to the final show of the tour in The Hip's hometown of Kingston. It's the only concert that fits with his radiation schedule.

His wife has also set up a GoFundMe campaign at the request of the public. The fundraising goal of the Get My Hero To The Hip page is $1.

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