Local boxing legend Marty McGarry fights to save his life - FOX 32 News Chicago

Local boxing legend Marty McGarry fights to save his life

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A local man and boxing legend is fighting to save his life from a rare disease—so rare, in fact, there is no treatment for it in the United States.

But for Marty McGarry and his legion of friends, the fight has only just begun.

In an early evening at McGarry's Boxing Club, the training is intense, the sweat and smack talking is in abundance. But when it comes to helping out local boxing legend Marty McGarry, there is no disagreement.

"He got a heart of gold and a lot of energy to go with it," boxer Montell Griffin says of McGarry.

For close to 30 years, Martin McGarry was living the American dream. The Irishman boxer came to the U.S., married a Beverly girl, and raised a family—but he never lost his love of the sweet science. He built a gym and trained thousands of kids as part of his McGarry Boxing Club.

As he turned 60 and readied for retirement, he started to feel what he feared would one day come. McGarry is one of only 8,000 people worldwide who suffer from Amyloidosis.

"It's a protein that forms in your system and attacks your heart, kidneys and digestive system," McGarry explains.

He has already started to feel the beginning effects of the rare disease, including tingling in his legs and frequent fatigue. The disease is hereditary, as in Martin's case.

"I inherited it through my mom's side of the family and she passed away from it, my two brothers died from it," Martin says.

Unfortunately, there is no approved treatment here in the United States. The doctors who do treat the disease are in Europe, but McGarry's insurance won't cover any of the $24,000 a month cost for drugs and treatment.

"A doctor in Germany agreed to treat me with this drug, so that is my next trip," Martin says. "Hopefully, it will give me a little better quality of life for awhile...extend my life."

Martin was one among several people to testified before the FDA this summer seeking fast track approval here in the United States but that could still be years away and is running out of time.

Now, an army of friends are coming to the aid of the man who has made a life helping others.

Olympic boxer and light heavy-weight champ Montell Griffin has known Martin since he was 5, about his son's age now.

"I've seen him pretty much every day," Griffin says. "I see what he means for the kids, he's a great guy. I call him the new James Brown. He's the hardest working man in show business."

Come this Sunday, they'll be raising money for Marty to go to Germany and get that lifesaving care. Like so many others, his son Morgan and daughter-in-law Meg pray this treatment will keep him around for many years to come.

And rest assured, when it comes to Marty McGarry, there's no quit to this champion!

The fundraiser for Martin is this Sunday at 115 Bourbon Street. They are asking the president, congressman Dan Lipinski and Senators Durbin and Kirk to persuade the FDA to fast track treatment in the United States immediately.

Martin and his wife leave for Germany on Monday morning.

For more information on Martin McGarry's fundraiser and how you can help, visit the Fight for Martin McGarry website.

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