Mark Farren can count on support of football family
The football family will show its compassionate side this evening when players, supporters and officials gather at Mourneview Park to help raise the funds needed to assist Mark Farren's brave battle against cancer.
The former Glenavon and Derry City striker is fighting for his life and needs at least £25,000 to receive specialist treatment in Germany.
Remarkable fundraising efforts have really gathered pace in the last week and the total raised to date is almost £32,000.
Tonight's match at Mourneview, which kicks off at 7.45pm, will see a strong Lurgan Blues side take on Candystripes legends from their glorious Uefa Cup assault in the 2006-2007 campaign when they defeated IFK Gothenburg and Gretna to qualify for the first round proper, drawing 0-0 with PSG at the Brandywell before losing 2-0 in Paris.
It's hoped that as many as possible of that Derry City side, which included Eddie McCallion, Barry Molloy, Stephen O'Flynn, Kevin McHugh, Ciaran Martyn, Ken Oman, Ruaidhri Higgins and Paddy McCourt, will feature in the game against the current Glenavon first team including new signing, keeper Jonny Tuffey, and former Lurgan Blues striker David Rainey.
Mark and his family, including his wife Terri-Louise, hope to attend tonight's game in what is sure to be a very emotional occasion.
The 33-year-old Donegal man underwent a third operation on his brain at the beginning of April but he now needs specialist treatment.
Surgeons removed over 80% of Farren's tumour but his speech and mobility have been affected.
A biopsy after the surgery indicated that the tumour was highly aggressive.
Glenavon midfielder Ciaran Martyn, a close friend and former team-mate, said an emotional thank you to everyone who has raised funds for Mark at the annual football writers' awards ceremony at the Ramada Hotel on Monday night. Guests raised £3,635 towards his treatment.
"Unfortunately Mark is in a bad situation at the minute," said Martyn. "He was told by a surgeon in Belfast last Thursday that chemotherapy wasn't an option so Shaun Holmes, who is his brother-in-law, asked me could we get together and offer some help because he needs cancer treatment in Mexico or Germany.
"We have been asking the football community to unite and help us raise the funds for Mark to receive the treatment he needs in Germany and for the after care that he will need.
"On behalf of his family and his wife, Terri-Louise, they would like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation for everyone's help. At the end of the day life is precious and I have begun to understand that after knowing Mark as a friend and team-mate at Derry City and Glenavon.
"If there's an opportunity to give him more days or years to live we have to try and do our best for him. The quicker he gets to Germany the better so on behalf of his family, friends and ex team-mates, I'd like to thank everyone for all their support."
Among those who have made donations to the fundraising campaign are Everton star Seamus Coleman and former Derry team-mate James McClean, while Manchester United star Wayne Rooney may also offer support.
Terri-Louise said: "Honestly, our phones have not stopped and we have people from all over the world looking to help out.
"Mark's former Derry City team-mate, Clive Delaney, is in Australia and he is doing something. Darron Gibson contacted us to say Wayne Rooney is looking to do something and Ciaran Martyn, Ruaidhri Higgins, Kevin McHugh and my brother Shaun Holmes are organising a big fundraising night next month in the Everglades.
"Mark and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, kindness and generosity. Hopefully this story will have a happy ending."
Admission to tonight's game will be £10 for adults, £7 for concessions and £5 for primary school children with all proceeds to the Mark Farren Treatment fund. You can offer financial support at http://gogetfunding.com/project/mark-farrens-treatment-fund
Derry City have been drawn away to Edenderry in the FAI Cup second round with the game scheduled for May 29.