A high profile television ‘reality’ star has punched above his weight to support Co. Antrim man David McClean.
‘Made in Chelsea’ star Josh Patterson took part in a “white collar” boxing match to raise funds for David’s pioneering immunotherapy cancer treatment.
Having had a cancer scare in his own family, Josh, a family friend, said: “I feel strongly that when you have any form of profile, it’s so important to use it in any way positive.
“When I heard from Charlotte McClean about her dad, it was an easy decision to commit to helping her family in any way possible.”
David was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer known as Grade 4 Glioblastoma.
He underwent an incredibly brave seven-and-a-half hour operation whilst awake at Univesity College of London Hospital.
He continues to undergo intense treatment; a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and pioneeding immunotherapy which is not funded through the NHS.
David who is a long-term member of Ballymena Road Club was preparing for a cycling trip to Lake Annecy in September 2016 when his wife Dawn noticed that he was getting some words mixed up.
A scan at Antrim Area Hospital revealed that he had two brain tumours. After a further two weeks of scans and tests, David was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he underwent major brain surgery and was diagnosed with Grade 4 Glioblastoma, “very aggressive terminal brain cancer”.
His wife Dawn explained: “We contacted the University College Hospital in London where there was a Glioblastoma specialist and met with the consultant and neurosurgeon who said they could remove both tumours, but because of their aggressive nature, they would grow back.
“After a gruelling operation and period of healing, he returned to London where the possibility of immunotherapy was discussed and informed that without it, his life span would be approximately 12 to 18 months.
“When the stitches on David’s head were healed, he underwent six weeks of extensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy in Belfast.
“The day this treatment finished, we were on the plane to London that evening, so David could start immunotherapy treatment straight away while his brain was clear.
“Immunotherapy treatment which trains the body’s immune system to attack and kill cancer cells - was his only hope of survival. Unfortunately, the treatment was not available on the NHS and only available privately at a cost of approximately £300,000 plus all the travelling back and forth to London.
“David has already started the treatment is continuing to do well.”
The family is fundraising through a Just Giving crowdfund appeal with a target of £150,000.
Charlotte said: “It’s not available on the NHS and we have a very limited amount of time to raise money to fund it.
“Dad’s a fighter and we are not giving up either. We can’t do it on our own, so this time, we are asking for help.
“If we can’t fund this treatment, the aggressive brain cancer will be back within the year. Dad is only 52 and still got so much to give.
“After having already beaten cancer in the leg (Sarcoma) two years ago, the news was devastating that a different type of cancer had formed.
“An amazing £43,614.95 was raised solely on people’s generosity, and we can’t thank everyone enough for the support and encouragement we’ve received.
“Please, please help us to continue raising the much needed funds.”
Wife Dawn added:“David and his family are extremely grateful for all the support already received and appeal for your continued support in order for his life saving treatment to continue.”
Josh Patterson added: “David has been my motivation through this journey and will continue to do so.
“I would appeal to the public to support David’s fight against brain cancer.”
Speaking on the night of the boxing match, he said: “I decided to do this fight in order to raise as much awareness and money for David as possible.
“David I dedicate this fight to you. I hope I do you proud.”
Donations can be made on David McClean’s Just Giving page.