Music teachers Alan and Jenni Holmes in a photo posted to the “Tuning Out Cancer” campaign page at gofundme.com.

Music students rally to raise funds for Surrey teacher and wife hit by cancer

Johnston Heights Secondary musicians launch online campaign to help Alan and Jenni Holmes

Students of a popular music teacher at a Surrey school are “tuning out cancer” to help him and his wife meet the financial burden of fighting the disease.

A student-led online fundraising campaign was launched July 10 for Johnston Heights Secondary’s music director, Alan Holmes, and his wife, Jenni, who in March was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma, a type of soft-tissue sarcoma.

The couple, married for 34 years, accompanied dozens of choir singers on a trip to Vienna, Austria, last summer. Now some of them are helping the Holmes, both of whom have helped teach students the joy of singing and playing music.

The high school’s music program involves some 500 students.

“Jenni, whom Alan met in college, is an accomplished soprano with many years of teaching and playing experience,” former student Rylan Ferrer wrote in an email to the Now-Leader.

“In 2008, while teaching some band classes, Alan began the choral program which bloomed in three years to more than 300 students. In 2017, Alan and Jenni led 80 choir members on a European tour, garnering first prize at an international youth festival in Vienna. He, with the help of Jenni, has run the program for 10 years, deeply affecting the lives of the many students they have taught.”

When Jenni was diagnosed with cancer, Alan took a leave of absence from teaching to care for his wife.

“Both he and Jenni have put their heart and soul into the choir and band, making it a safe place to many students,” wrote Ferrer, who graduated from the school last month.

“Now, it is our turn to return the favour to the dedicated pair who have taught over 4,000 students and rooted the love of music into each of their lives. Alan has inspired me as well as hundreds of other people who have been through his program. And seeing him and his wife back on their feet would mean the world to us.”

(STORY CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO)

A Youtube video shared to the Jenni Holmes – Tuning Out Cancer campaign page at gofundme.com includes appeals and stories from several students, along with a message from the couple.

The immediate fundraising goal is $75,000, but campaign organizers hope to eventually raise $175,000, “a portion of what the full cost may total to,” according to a post on the website. “All proceeds are going solely into treatment.”

As of Monday morning (July 16), more than $27,800 had been raised for the cause, which involves treatments “outside the prescribed cancer agency protocol,” Alan Holmes says in the video posted to the website.

“Because of that, we are in a financial situation where we need to ask for money, for that treatment,” he said.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey arts community mourns Don Hutchinson, award-winning potter

For more than five decades, he made ‘extraordinary clay works out of his home and studio in Surrey’

Work on South Surrey’s Bailey bridge booked

Week-long closure of King George Boulevard structure to start Monday: ministry

Environment, finance top of mind for new Surrey Councillor Steven Pettigrew

Unexpected advocacy led to political mentorship, says first-term councillor

‘Sophisticated’ mail theft, fraud operation uncovered in Cloverdale, say RCMP

Three have been arrested, charges have yet to be laid

Former Semiahmoo Totem star honoured by Volleyball BC

South Surrey’s Michael Dowhaniuk, now at UBC, awarded Ray Lepp Scholarship

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

$136M in transit funding coming to B.C.

The announcement was made at the BC Transit yard in Langford on Friday morning

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Plaque installed in Prince Rupert to honour the memory of Shotaro Shimizu

Two B.C. police officers, held in Cuba for months, cleared of sex assault allegations

Port Moody Const. Jordan Long and Vancouver Const. Mark Simms have been in Cuba since March

Sunrise ceremony at B.C. legislature honours Louis Riel

Nov. 16 marks the 133rd anniversary of the Métis leader’s death

5 to start your day

BC Hydro says outages have tripled in the last five years, two men charged after alleged butter thefts and more

California wildfire death toll hits 63

Sheriff says hundreds still missing in nation’s deadliest wildfire

Most Read