DAD’S FIGHT TO SURVIVE FOR A FEW MORE YEARS
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