A father of three undergoing medical treatment in the US “will do anything” to have a life with his young family. The story of Declan Ferguson is one of hope, persistence and community.
Last March the 47-year-old Lavey man was told he had terminal abdominal cancer. Treatment in Ireland was limited as the diagnosis determined the cancer was ‘stage 4’. A cancer is ‘stage 4’ when it has spread away from the origin into other organs of the body.
Declan sought a second opinion which brought him to Florida. In the US he has undergone aggressive chemotherapy, which he says has shrunk the tumour enough to allow him undergo surgery to remove it.
It has been a hectic period for his whole family. In the time Declan has been in Florida his wife, Louise, gave birth to twins who join older brother Dara (2). The family have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the treatment Declan’s received in Florida. The estimated cost is $250,000.
“My story is somewhat unreal to me still as I’m living through a daily roller-coaster of emotions,” Declan said on the GoFundMe page.
Since the page was set up donations have been pouring in.
Speaking to the Celt Margaret says it’s important Declan avails of the Florida treatment as it is not available in Ireland:
“It’s a small timescale for Declan to raise the money and he needs the money before he can get the surgery in America in August,” she explained.
“From March to April he went through the treatment out in Florida. He has extended family out there, but Louise is here at home,” the family friend said.
“She is very very well supported by her sisters and her brother Niall. Declan came home when the twins were four weeks old. It is really hard for him.”
The committee in Lavey is composed of family friends and neighbours.
“There is a very strong committee there. The neighbours and friends have really rallied around them,” Margaret said. “The support is unbelievable, not just in Lavey but from all over.”
A launch night for the fundraising efforts takes place in the Lavey Inn. There is also a night in the Claddagh pub Ballyjamesduff on Friday July 27. All the musicians (Eamonn Jackson, Dermot McConnell & Cajun Country and Ian Pickins in the Lavey Inn on July 26 and David Kiernan in the Claddagh on July 27) are providing the entertainment free of charge.
Maragret says the family are very focused.
“Louise is a quiet girl, very private. I did nurse training with her. She is very busy with the twins and Dara. It is hard for here being over here when Declan is over in Florida.
“Declan is a very strong person. His attitude is to overcome this by any means he can. He has a lovely wife and three small kids and he will try anything to be there for them.”
The fundraising events are being coordinated by a committee in Lavey. There are tea parties being organised; there is a tractor tun on July 22, there is also a bucket collection in Cavan on the weekend of Taste of Cavan, will take place on Saturday August 11.