Many will remember local DJ and radio presenter Terry Farrugia from his radio programme, ‘Terry Time’ on Island Sound Radio in the 1990s. Since then, he has been very active in the local radio scene, both on air and in management.
However, life dealt Terry – father to two boys aged eight and 10 – a cruel blow in 2016, when he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). He was hospitalised and given his first line treatment of four rounds of chemotherapy.
After a few months in hospital, he was discharged… only to receive the news that the cancer had returned, just over a year later. More aggressive chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant followed. Not having located a suitable adult donor, his only option was to have a transplant from cord blood which provides a finite amount of stem cells, in the UK.
Complications such as inflammation in the bowel and pneumonia led Terry to the Intensive Care Unit. Despite the risk of further complications, the inflamed part of the intestine had to be surgically removed. He underwent a cord blood bone marrow transplant in England in March 2018.
The first test results indicated that the transplant had been a success; however repeat tests showed that a very small fraction of diseased cells had returned. Soon after, it was confirmed that Terry had relapsed. As the transplant donor was cord blood, there was no possibility to return to the donor to harvest more stem cells.
The doctors tried another drug that specifically targets mutated cells. This drug, donated to Terry by the pharmaceutical company producing it on compassionate terms, was successful in putting Terry back into remission.
However, just four months later, Terry relapsed again.
Several centres were contacted about the possibility of him receiving further treatment. One such centre based in Houston, Texas, which is at the forefront of cancer research with particular experience in AML, is interested in offering Terry treatment… but at a hefty monetary cost.
Up until now Terry’s treatment was only possible thanks to the support of The Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation, Puttinu Cares, the Treatment Abroad section of the health department, the Haematology Team at SAMOC, the Maltese High Commission, the Ladybird Foundation and close friends of the family, such as fellow parents from San Anton School and Melita Football Club. However, the only way for this treatment to happen is for Terry’s family to pay for it.
A group of Terry’s friends and ex-colleagues, many of whom are well-known in the radio and television spheres, have come together to help by endorsing a Facebook page to help raise funds.
Donations can be made via bank transfer: Terry Time Trust Bank Account, c/o CSB trustees & fiduciaries Ltd; Bank of Valletta PLC; account number 40025136757; Iban number mt77vall22013000000040025136757 and swift: vallmtmt or through Paypal by using email@example.com.
More information may be obtained from the Terry Time website.