Allan Finnegan competed in the 2020 series of the ITV variety competition with his comedy act, delivering standup routines that charmed the viewers and judging panel.
After the show, the Baptist minister continued working at his church in Bootle as normal, but sought medical advice when he started to experience some issues with his vision in 2022.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Finnegan explained: “Just before the check-up, the vision in my left eye started going slightly darker and I started seeing flashes. I mentioned it but they originally found something in my right eye. I kept saying there’s something in my left eye.”
Doctors discovered that he had tumours in both eyes, with the left eye needing treatment. Finnegan was then diagnosed with ocular melanoma, a rare form of eye cancer.
Although the disease was treated soon after, medical professionals informed Finnegan that there was a risk of cancer coming back.
“It went well but the biopsy looked at my genes – if you’ve got a certain type of gene, there’s quite a high chance of cancer returning, and when it does, it usually is in the liver,” he explained.
The comic and minister had regular checkups to monitor his health, and in December last year, doctors noticed a change in a scan.
“I had to go back. It confirmed it had spread,” Finnegan explained. “I went to a consultant just after Christmas. He confirmed it was untreatable.”
Since receiving the prognosis, Finnegan has shared the news with his loved ones and congregation.
"Watching my wife and kids cry, seeing other people cry, that makes me more emotional,” he explained.
“The congregation has been fabulous. Apparently, it was a bit of a shock to them when they found out. It was read out when I was away and I heard there were plenty of tears. They’ve been massively supportive.”
Finnegan’s treatment options to improve his chances of survival are limited to an experimental drug trial and chemosaturation therapy, which is not available on the NHS and costs £50,000 per dose.
Though three treatments are needed to extend Finnegan’s life expectancy, he is first hoping to raise enough for one dose through crowdfunding.
So far, more than £27,000 has been raised towards his £50,000 target. Finnegan told the regional publication that it was “humbling” to have received so much support.
“It’s quite emotional to see it going up so quickly. I know some of the people who have given me £5 or £10. It’s quite humbling to be on the receiving end,” he said.
“I really did not expect it. At the start, I knew the people who were donating, but now there’s people I don’t even know who are donating. I’m blown away.”
You can find out more about Allan’s fundraiser here.