DAD’S FIGHT TO SUR­VIVE FOR A FEW MORE YEARS

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - MARK SMITH Health Cor­re­spon­dent [email protected]­line.co.uk

ADAD-OF-THREE has been given just months to live af­ter be­ing struck down with an in­cur­able form of can­cer.

Brian Far­rell, from Neath, was di­ag­nosed with a rare type of pan­cre­atic can­cer two years ago at the age of 40.

De­spite hav­ing part of his pan­creas re­moved – and at one stage be­ing told he was free of the dis­ease – the can­cer re­turned ear­lier this year and has now spread to his liver.

Doc­tors say Brian now has just a few months to live.

But the de­ter­mined dad says he has not given up hope and is aim­ing to get his tu­mour “ge­net­i­cally pro­filed” which could al­low him to find life-ex­tend­ing tar­geted can­cer drugs not yet avail­able on the NHS.

Within a week of set­ting up a GoFundMe page, more than £31,000 has been raised for Brian thanks to the gen­eros­ity of his close-knit com­mu­nity.

“This has been a truly trau­matic time for us and our fam­ily,” he said.

“But we need to keep the mo­ti­va­tion go­ing and raise funds to al­low more test­ing to be done to seek a tar­geted drug that will keep the tu­mour from grow­ing or spread­ing.

“This could pro­vide me with ex­tra years with my chil­dren and fam­ily.”

Keen mo­tor­cy­clist Brian – dad to Conor, 12, Calum, 10, and Erin, 10 – said he first knew some­thing was wrong when he be­gan suf­fer­ing ab­dom­i­nal pains in Novem­ber 2016.

“I was rushed into A&E, where fol­low­ing rou­tine blood tests, they di­ag­nosed me with pan­cre­ati­tis. What un­folded in the next few days was life-chang­ing,” said Brian, who is orig­i­nally from Ire­land.

“From X-rays, ul­tra­sounds and CT scans, they con­firmed there was a tu­mour on my pan­creas.

“How­ever, at this point, we did not know if the tu­mour was be­nign or ma­lig­nant.”

Af­ter un­der­go­ing a biopsy on De­cem­ber 1, 2016, it was dis­cov­ered that Brian had a 4.5cm tu­mour with a rare can­cer called aci­nar cell car­ci­noma (ACC).

“This only ac­counts for 1% of all pan­cre­atic can­cers, but the sur­vival rate was still bru­tal,” he added.

On Jan­uary 6, 2017, Brian had surgery to par­tially re­move his pan­creas, which took 11 hours and left him in hos­pi­tal for 18 days.

He then un­der­went six months of three-weekly in­fu­sions of two types of chemo­ther­apy be­tween March and Septem­ber 2017.

He added: “It was a tough regime for the first three months, and then fur­ther trauma hap­pened in July with a burst ap­pen­dix, which emer­gency surgery.”

At the end of Septem­ber, his on­col­o­gist con­firmed that there were no signs of can­cer in the first scan af­ter the treat­ment.

But more scans were to fol­low and in Fe­bru­ary 2018 he was given the dev­as­tat­ing news that the dis­ease had spread to his liver and was now in­cur­able.

“Our world, our fam­ily, ev­ery­thing had changed for­ever,” said Brian.

While Brian con­tin­ues to re­ceive chemo­ther­apy, the fam­ily are ex­plor­ing the prospect of his tu­mour be­ing ge­net­i­cally pro­filed.

“This gives a com­pre­hen­sive view of the tu­mour, at both DNA and pro­tein lev­els, and opens more ther­a­peu­tic op­tions, sup­port­ing my on­col­o­gist and fol­low-up de­ci­sions,” he added.

“This is cur­rently not funded by the NHS for my case, un­less I am ac­cepted for a clin­i­cal trial.

“If a mu­ta­tion is found, then a tar- re­quired geted ther­apy could be sourced out­side of the UK.”

Within just seven days of a GoFundMe page be­ing set up for Brian, more than £31,000 was raised by friends, fam­i­lies and com­plete strangers.

His wife Nicola said: “We are so grate­ful for ev­ery sin­gle do­na­tion. We have been com­pletely over­whelmed by the gen­eros­ity of so many peo­ple.

“The tu­mour pro­fil­ing will de­ter­mine what form of tar­geted ther­apy he will re­ceive, so at the mo­ment we have no idea what it’ll be or how much money it will cost.

“Brian is a fan­tas­tic hus­band and fa­ther and we will do ev­ery­thing we can to sup­port him.”

A char­ity cy­cle ride, from Bri­ton Ferry to Mum­bles and back, took place last Sun­day in Brian’s hon­our or­gan­ised by fam­ily friend Ash­ton Vick­ery, 12.

If you would like to do­nate, visit gofundme.com/biker-bri­an039s­cancer-fund

Brian Far­rell, 40, has been di­ag­nosed with an in­cur­able form of can­cer

Brian with his chil­dren Conor, 12, Calum, 10, and Erin, 10

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