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McClean family appeal for £350,000 to help dad David battle brain cancer

Friends devastated after cyclist becomes ill just two years after beating tumour in leg

By Allan Preston

The family of a cycling-loving father-of-two from Ballymena suffering from brain cancer have appealed for help to raise £350,000 to save his life.

Friends were shocked when David McClean (52), a long-time member of Ballymena Road Club, fell ill because he was known for healthy lifestyle.

David recovered from cancer in his leg two years ago, so wife Dawn and children Charlotte and Christopher, who are both in their 20s - were devastated when he became ill once again in September.

David had been planning to go on a trip to Geneva with his cycling club, but Dawn became concerned when she saw him fall outside their home.

Within weeks, doctors diagnosed him with grade-four glioblastoma - an aggressive form of brain cancer - and said it was inoperable.

The family took hope from the experience of Portglenone man Kevin Carey, who had immunotherapy treatment in London.

"David went to University College Hospital for eight-hour surgery and they removed the tumours 100%, but they said the cancer was so aggressive that without immunotherapy it would come back," said David's sister, Sharon McClure.

David is due to start a six-week course of chemotherapy in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital on January 3.

"As soon as he's finished, he needs to start the immunotherapy - there can't be a break," said Sharon. "As soon as the cancer comes back, it won't work.

However, the treatment will cost the family £350,000, which they intend to pay in stages.

"We're trying everything - we're doing a charity ball, a night at the races, cake sales and everything we can," said Sharon.

"I think it's awful in this day and age where everyone pays their taxes and you just cannot get this treatment unless you privately fund it. It's a lot of money, but we have to try."

Before falling ill, David was a building contractor and owned his own company.

"He didn't drink or smoke and all his interest was in cycling," explained Sharon. "He was just so fit and healthy, and this is why we can't take this in.

"The medical staff called him the miracle man - they haven't worked with anyone like him. He has been so up for it.

"This last two weeks, he's had a chest infection and he's finding it so tough with his immune system so low, and we're worried it might turn into pneumonia."

The family said they had been overwhelmed with the support offered, with a fundraising page set up on Friday already coming up with just under £10,000.

To find out more about the fundraising appeal, visit justgiving.com

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