AN Irish dad with Stage 4 cancer has appealed for help to send him to the US for an operation which could potentially save his life.
Declan Ferguson, 47, from Lavey in Co. Cavan, was diagnosed with Stage 4 abdominal cancer back in March.
The father-of-three was told there was no treatment available to him in Ireland except palliative care, and was warned he would be lucky to see Christmas 2018.
Declan - husband to Louise and dad to 2-year-old Dara & 10-week-old twins Lauren and Declan Jr - had until recently been working in the construction industry in London and is determined to see his children grow up.
He has already received treatment in Florida which significantly reduced the size of his tumour, and doctors there can operate in August - IF he can raise €190,000.
The #SaveDeclansLife GoFundMe page has already raised just under €50,000, and the Ferguson family are cautiously optimistic about achieving their goal with further support from the Irish community.
Louise, Dara, Declan and Lauren ask if you can donate to help their daddy have life-saving surgery. We're sharing to support the family's fundraising to #savedeclanslife - please share and donate if you can!https://t.co/WYK3QMmR7C pic.twitter.com/j1o9G44wO7
— VGCGroup (@VGCGroup) July 7, 2018
"With my wife heavily pregnant with our twins, accepting [palliative care] wasn’t really a viable option for me," Declan explained.
"I had watched my mother die from cancer, progressively getting weaker and this wasn’t something I could envisage putting my wife and young family through.
"Extended family in Florida encouraged me to get a second opinion over there and very kindly offered to fund the initial stages to see if there was anything that could be done. Doctors there were much more optimistic as there are treatments available there that are not currently available in Ireland.
"I commenced an aggressive chemotherapy regime there on the 5th of April with a view to shrinking the tumour before surgery. The medical team are so confident of a positive outcome that they recommended me for an immunotherapy sponsorship programme onto which I was accepted and started at the end of May.
"On 26th June I had a full body scan and doctors confirmed the tumour has shrunk enough to carry out surgery".
We're sharing to support the family in their fundraising efforts to #savedeclanslife
If you have any money to spare, he'd really appreciate your contribution - #everylittle donation counts!https://t.co/WYK3QMmR7C pic.twitter.com/r8I9S4DsVQ
— VGCGroup (@VGCGroup) July 5, 2018
Declan added: "Through the kindness of family and friends I have been financially and emotionally supported to receive the treatment I need so far.
"As I’ve been based in America since April, I have missed the birth of our beautiful twins but I’m focusing on the bigger picture.
"I’m missing out on these first months as I want to be around as all 3 of our children grow up - go to those football games , hold them when the tears come, be there for their birthdays, first day at school and hopefully, see them get married.
"This is where I need your help, my operation/subsequent treatment will commence mid August and costs are in excess of $250,000.
"I’ve reached out to everyone possible in terms of family and friends and while they have supported me fully within each of their means – it's just not enough and I am now desperately seeking your help.
"Without funding - this operation will not be possible. Without your help, I will die sooner rather than later. Please, please help me see my kids grow up."
If you would like to donate to the #SaveDeclansLife appeal, please click here.