Gig fundraiser in honour of young musician diagnosed with cancer

24 May 2017.......     John Derrig was diagnosed with terminal cancer in March. On Friday he, his family and friends will take to the stage at Yeadon Town Hall for a concert to raise money for the Tennage Cancer Trust J94 ward in the Bexley Wing at St James's Hospital.  Picture Tony Johnson.
24 May 2017....... John Derrig was diagnosed with terminal cancer in March. On Friday he, his family and friends will take to the stage at Yeadon Town Hall for a concert to raise money for the Tennage Cancer Trust J94 ward in the Bexley Wing at St James's Hospital. Picture Tony Johnson.

Music has played a “massive, massive” part in life for John Derrig, a young Leeds man who has been diagnosed with incurable cancer.

And tomorrow he, his family and friends are due to take to the stage at Yeadon Town Hall for a gig to raise cash for the Teenage Cancer Trust’s J94 ward in the Bexley Wing at St James’s Hospital.

24 May 2017.......     John Derrig was diagnosed with terminal cancer in March. On Friday he, his family and friends will take to the stage at Yeadon Town Hall for a concert to raise money for the Tennage Cancer Trust J94 ward in the Bexley Wing at St James's Hospital.  Picture Tony Johnson.

24 May 2017....... John Derrig was diagnosed with terminal cancer in March. On Friday he, his family and friends will take to the stage at Yeadon Town Hall for a concert to raise money for the Tennage Cancer Trust J94 ward in the Bexley Wing at St James's Hospital. Picture Tony Johnson.

Mr Derrig, 22, was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in February and only a month later was told it was terminal.

The multi-instrumentalist hopes to be able to play during the show with his band Call Me When You’re Famous, which are supported by his father Stephen’s Beatles tribute group The Fools on the Hill and The Counterfeits.

The Teenage Kicks Cancer gig starts at 7pm.

Speaking about his love of music, Mr Derrig said: “I was about three or four when I first started drums. There’s a picture of me holding two drum sticks sat next to my brother.”

He added: “Music’s been a massive, massive part of my life. It’s got me through so many things.

“It makes a change with the stuff that’s been going on for me. Music’s got me through a lot.

“Especially during a round of chemo. I was getting all emotional because it was painful. I put my headphones on and said ‘Just play anything’.”

The British metal band Bury Tomorrow came up on his phone and began playing. “I was fine, I was chilled. I just got through my chemo,” he said.

Mr Derrig attributes his time at Woodhouse Grove School as key to his progression as a musician, where he had access to a piano room and was involved in choirs. He later attended Leeds College of Music.

Speaking about his diagnosis, he said: “It didn’t hit me for a few months. It was about mid-April, I was sat in my room and it hit me like a brick wall.”

He added: “I’m just trying to fight it as much as I can.”

His parents Shealagh and Stephen, both teachers, have taken time away from work to look after him at their Banksfield Crescent home.

Mr Derrig said that the Teenage Cancer Trust’s young adult unit has been “great place to be” during his treatment and praised its “amazing” staff.

The idea for a gig to raise money came after a similar concert organised by his 23-year-old sister Alice, who was diagnosed with lupus 17, which last year raised £12,000 for charity.

She also recently arranged for him to meet two of his favourite bands, Sum 41 and Parkway Drive, who signed a guitar for him.

“We’re treating everything as the last time,” she said.

It will be the first time Mr Derrig has played with pop-punk band Call Me When You’re Famous in around two years and he said he is “thrilled” for it to be happening.

The Counterfeits, which include Mr Derrig’s older brother James, 29, will play covers of bands such as Blink 182, Motley Crue, Foo Fighters, Sum 41 and The Undertones.

Raffle tickets will be on sale on the night for £5.

Tickets at £10 for the gig can be bought on the door tomorrow. Alternatively, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/teenage-kicks-cancer-tickets-33145863169

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