The heartbroken widow of Derry City F.C. legend Mark Farren says she wishes she could have her husband back for just one more day.
Mark Farren was 33 years-old when he passed away on February 3; he had been battling a brain tumour for the third time.
Mark, who was Derry City F.C.’s all time top goal-scorer, was buried alongside his triplet daughters in the graveyard beside St. Mary’s Church, Ballybrack, Greencastle, Co. Donegal.
“If I’m honest, time feels like it has stopped for me,” said Terri-Louise. “I just wish we could have had more time and I could have him back but that would be selfish of me.”
Terri-Louise described the help and support she received at the time of her husband’s death as “invaluable” and said “Mark would have been very proud”.
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to all my family, friends, neighbours in Moville, Greencastle and Killea and all who travelled from afar and overseas to be with me during Mark’s wake and funeral,” said Terri-Louise.
“I am deeply grateful for all the Mass cards, flowers and donations in lieu to the Donegal Hospice.”
“I would like to thank all of Mark’s football teammates from all the different clubs, both in the North and South of Ireland. I’d like to especially thank both Derry City F.C. and Glenavon F.C. who gave Mark many happy years of enjoying football and who helped make his career a success. Their invaluable support over his health battle the last six years has been very much appreciated and something I will never forget.”
On Christmas Eve 2008, Mark was diagnosed with a grade two brain tumour and was forced to take early retirement from professional football.
He underwent successful brain surgery in Liverpool in 2009 and along with the help and support of Terri-Louise, his friends and family, made a full recovery.
In 2012, Mark accomplished what many had thought impossible, when, in the unmistakable red and white of his beloved Derry City, he broke Liam Coyle’s goal scoring record of 112 goals when he completed a hat-trick against Mervue United in the FAI Cup at the Brandywell.
Mark and Terri-Louise married in 2009 and after enduring the horror of a brain tumour diagnosis they started to build a life together.
Mark was then diagnosed with a brain tumour for a second time in 2013 and after surgery and more treatment, Mark and his wife, Terri-Louise, set down the road to recovery again.
However, their worst nightmares were realised when Mark was diagnosed with a grade four brain tumour last year.
I just wish we could have had more time and I could have him back but that would be selfish of meTerri-Louise Farren
Surgery and treatment immediately followed and in a bid to cure him, his family and friends organised a special charity fund to pay for specialist treatment in a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.
Mark’s death sent shockwaves throughout Ireland. Leading the tributes to the Greencastle born footballer was President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and former Derry City F.C. boss and friend, Stephen Kenny.
“I was so humbled when I saw that President of Ireland sent someone to represent him at Mark’s funeral,” said Terri-Louise.
“I was so grateful of their presence during what was and continues to be a hard time for me - Mark would have been so proud to see this.”
Terri-Louise admitted that whilst the last eight years have been extremely difficult the support and help they received from medical professionals was outstanding.
“I would like to thank all the caring professionals who helped him during his illness: Donegal Hospice, Altnagelvin Hospital, the Royal Hospital in Belfast, Dr. Joe McEvoy from Bayview Medical Practice, the staff and doctors at the Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico, Nutritionist, Sinead Kelly, Dr. Finbar Magee of Synergy Clinic, Belfast and Marie McElhinney from Clarendon Chiropractors. Their professional help and support has been first class and I will be forever grateful for this and also for supporting and helping me to bring Mark through every step of the way.”
In a bid to cure Mark of his illness the Mark Farren Treatment Fund was set-up. Football fans from all over world contributed to the fund which subsequently covered the cost of his treatment in Mexico.
“I would like to thank everyone from around the world who have helped in any way towards the costs of treatment over the last few years and who helped Mark receive treatment in - without their donations and invaluable help, we would never have been able to do this for him.”
Terri-Louise also made a point of thanking all of the clergy who helped her through the days after Mark’s death.
“In terms of Mark’s wake and funeral, I would like to thank all of my family and friends who provided refreshments during this time. To the staff of Cavanagh’s Bar in Greencastle and McCourt’s Bar in Ardmore for the food; their help and support during this time was invaluable.
“I would like to say a special thanks to Fr Michael Canny for the lovely service he gave on the day of Mark’s funeral and for making it very personalised - he really captured the kind of person Mark was. But also Monsignor McCanney, Bishop Daly and all of the clergy who attended Mark’s wake and funeral.
“I would also like to show how grateful I am to Willie O’Brien Funeral Directors for absolutely everything they did. Their guidance and professionalism was carried out beautifully.”
Terri-Louise revealed that Mark was boosted by the help and support received over the years and admitted that it was a debt she would never be able to pay back.
“To thank everyone individually over Mark’s sickness and death would most definitely be impossible to do, so I would like to take this time to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for helping Mark and myself through this battle. Mark was humbled by all the love and support everyone gave him during his battle and it helped him get through every challenge he had to face. It’s something I will never be able to repay.”
Mark Farren’s month’s mind Mass will be held on Thursday March 3 at 7.30pm in St. Mary’s Church, Ballybrack, Greencastle, Co. Donegal. All welcome to attend.