BY CHRIS MCNULTY
DONEGAL soccer legend Mark Farren is in a fight for his life and his family have appealed for assistance to raise the necessary funds to have him treated an elite cancer centre in Germany.
Farren, who only turned 33 on Friday, has been battling brain cancer for just over six years and now needs €30,000 for the six-week treatment programme. His family says this is his best chance of saving “or at least prolonging his life.”
The Greencastle native underwent surgery for a third time last month and surgeons removed 80-90 per cent of the tumour.
“The invasive nature of the procedure has had a stunning effect on his speech and mobility,” his family said in a statement.
“The biopsy which followed has indicated that the tumour is a grade four, meaning it’s highly aggressive.
“Being no stranger to thinking outside the box, Mark is seeking medical assistance from an elite cancer centre in Germany. The six-week treatment programme is his best chance of saving or at least prolonging his life.”
A fund-raising drive is being spearheaded by his former teams Kevin McHugh, Ruaidhri Higgins and Ciaran Martyn. Bucket collections were held at League of Ireland grounds over the weekend and will be in place again this week.
Finn Harps captain McHugh will hold a collection tonight at the Dundalk-Bray Wanderers game at Oriel Park.
As of yesterday evening, in excess of €10,000 had been raised. Republic of Ireland international and ex-Derry player James McClean pledged £1,000 to the fund.
His family approached the PFAI and the players union will assist with the fund-raising efforts.
Farren first learned that he’d been diagnosed with the tumour, on Christmas Eve 2008, but successful surgery in Liverpool meant that he could resume his football career with Derry City.
He sat out the latter part of the 2009 season but he helped shoot Derry to the First Division title in 2010.
He subsequently retired from the game, but returned again, and in September 2012, scored a hat-trick against Mervue United in the FAI Cup to see him overtake Liam Coyle as Derry’s record goal scorer.
Farren – who had spells with Tranmere Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Finn Harps and Monaghan United earlier in his career – left Derry to sign for Glenavon, but in December 2013 a second operation ‘didn’t go to plan’ and he had to undergo more radiotherapy.
He thought he was on the road to recover again, but he now faces the biggest fight of all.
The website www.markfarren.com has been set up through which donations can be made.
The Farren family added: “This is the one goal with which Mark needs our help. Any contribution is greatly appreciated.”
BY CHRIS MCNULTY