Fighting Cancer For The Third...

The Last Word With Matt Cooper

Fighting Cancer For The Third Time Aged 26

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Michael Mullan, a 26-year-old from Co. Kildare, is fighting cancer for the third time in his life.

He and his girlfriend Mel Murphy are now living in the United States, and they joined us on The Last Word to discuss their journey.

Michael was just 16 months old when he was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma and given a one in four chance of survival. He says, "Cancer has been an ever-present element in my life. It's definitely taught me a couple of lessons along the way."

He was in his final year of studying at Trinity College when he was diagnosed with renal cell cancer. It was his girlfriend Mel's 21st birthday. She says, "While everybody else is out for their 21st, we were in Tallaght Hospital so that was pretty difficult."

This time, all Michael needed was surgery, and he was assured the cancer wouldn't come back. Unfortunately it did.

Michael and Mel had just moved to Boston when he received his third diagnosis. He was undertaking a Master's degree at Harvard Law School.

As he explains, "We were four months into our American dream. Everything had fallen into place."

"It was devastating news, and I immediately broke down."

Michael was 24 years old at the time. The cancer was more aggressive than before, having spread to his lungs, and he was given six months to live.

He was faced with the choice of whether to accept this and enjoy the final months of his life as much as possible, or to fight it. He and Mel made the decision to fight.

He took part in a new immunotherapy treatment, which he describes as "a leap of faith." There was no guarantee it would work, but his condition is currently stable and the tumours are not growing. His treatment in the US is ongoing, and there is still a long road ahead.

Michael says Mel has been a huge support to him: "It's been a really tough journey but to have her support is incredible."

Mel adds, "I'm very positive and I just help him out as much as I can."

The couple have been together for ten years, having met when they were 16. Although they say it can sometimes be lonely in America with their families back in Ireland, they have had huge support from home.

They are now fundraising for Michael's continuing treatment. Mel says, "There's a price on his life at this point in time. If we can raise the funds, we can keep him alive."

To make a donation, visit Michael's fundraising page on GoFundMe.

To catch the full chat press the play button on the image on the top of the screen


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