Veteran radio DJ Terry Farrugia loses cancer battle

The well-known radio presenter had been diagnosed with leukaemia in 2016

Terry Farrugia leaves behind a wife, Krista, and two children
Terry Farrugia leaves behind a wife, Krista, and two children

The veteran radio presenter Terry Farrugia has passed away after a three-year battle with cancer.

Farrugia, who leaves behind a wife and two children, had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) in April 2016. He had subsequently received a first line treatment of four rounds of chemotherapy, which left him hospitalised for four to five months that year.

His cancer went into remission, but it unfortunately returned just over a year later. The next line of treatment was more aggressive chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. A suitable donor was not located in Malta, and Farrugia’s only option was to have a transplant from cord blood in the United Kingdom, which provides a finite amount of stem cells.

He underwent a cord blood bone marrow transplant in England in March 2018, and while initial tests indicated that it had been a success, repeated tests some months later showed that a very small fraction of diseased cells had returned.

He was later given a different type of chemotherapy and went back into remission, but unfortunately relapsed again four months later.

Following consultations at a centre based in Houston, Texas, US and Maltese doctors agreed the best way forward was for Farrugia to be treated in Malta, but he needed specialised medication which cost tens of thousands of dollars. If the treatment was successful, the plan was to undergo a bone marrow transplant.

In January, several media personalities started a crowdfund to raise money for the treatment. The website TerryTime.org was launched to raise €500,000, and some €185,000 had been collected till now.

Farrugia started his career in Malta on Island Sound Radio in the early 1990s with a show called Terry Time. He later moved his show to Bay Radio, and most recently to Vibe FM.

In 2004, he 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.

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