Terry can be described as a radio legend in his own right!
Starting his career in Malta on Island Sound Radio in the early 90s his show was called Terry Time. He then moved his radio show to Bay Radio, where he eventually ventured into management, later moving on to Vibe FM.
Terry has been running Vibe FM, with the support of an exciting board and talented staff, since 2009. Apart from managing radio stations, Terry has also trained many local presenters, supported local bands, and been repeatedly invited to speak and deliver presentations at international broadcasting conferences in various cities throughout Europe including Rome, London and Athens.
In 2004 Terry was instrumental in launching radio awards that recognised local talent, bringing local bands and singers together to give a unique concert, with all proceeds raised being shared among a number of children’s charities.
What happened in April 2016
Terry was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). AML is a type of blood cancer that is caused by the bone marrow essentially malfunctioning and releasing immature white blood cells, known as blasts, into the blood stream. Being immature, and therefore underdeveloped, these cells are not able to properly carry out their function in fighting off infections and the patient’s immune system is severely compromised.
On being diagnosed, he was hospitalised and given his first line treatment of four rounds of chemotherapy. The aim was to wipe out the faulty bone marrow and hopefully have healthy tissue grow back. Wiping out your bone marrow of course leaves you defenceless against infection and during the recovery period, and Terry was in hospital for the most part of four to five months in 2016.
The disease returns
After just over a year, Terry and his family received the dreaded news that the disease had returned. The next line of treatment was more aggressive chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant . 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.
Terry underwent a cord blood bone marrow transplant in England in March 2018. The first test results indicated that the transplant had been a success with no disease detected however repeat tests some months later 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 decided to source another drug, a type of chemotherapy that specifically targets mutated cells. This drug, donated to Terry by the pharmaceutical company producing it on compassionate terms, was successful in targeting the leukaemia and putting Terry back into remission.
Four months after being given the more targeted chemotherapy drug, Terry relapsed again.
Given that his disease is acute and therefore time is of the essence, several centres were contacted about Terry and the possibility of him receiving further treatment to fight this disease. One such centre based in Houston, Texas, which is at the forefront of cancer research with particular experience in AML, showed interest in offering Terry treatment.
Consultation in U.S. and way forward
Terry was flown to the US for consultation at the beginning of January 2019.
The first part of the treatment plan consists of combination therapy and aims to bring Terry into remission. If this treatment is successful, Terry will then undergo a bone marrow transplant giving renewed hope of a cure. The treatment is long and hard, and an uphill struggle, but Terry is determined!
Who has helped Terry so far ?
Up until now Terry’s treatment was only possible thanks to the support of the Malta Community Chest Fund, 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.
Why is more financial help needed ?
The only way for this treatment to happen is for Terry’s family to pay for the medicine. With the assistance of CSB Trustees and Fiduciaries Limited, a trustee company licensed by the MFSA, a trust account has been formally set up in order to help raise funds the family needs.
A police licence has been obtained and a board has been appointed in order to ensure the proper management of the funds collected.