August 22, 2019

Towing business reopens after owner beats cancer

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WEST BRANCH — After 41 years in the towing business Marv Farley was forced to close Harold’s Towing & Recovery abruptly, but now he is back in business, this time as a cancer survivor.

Farley specifically remembers the date of his last tow call, Dec. 28, 2017.

“I gained a small tumor on my right hip,” he said. “The pain got to the point that I couldn’t get in the tow truck anymore, so I ended up down in Saginaw. That’s where they discovered the cancer.”

In January 2018 he was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma. He traveled to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Chicago, where he was fully diagnosed.

“It was looking pretty grim, so we closed the company and sold most of the equipment,” Farley said. “But I had one Kenworth (truck) that was kind of my pet, so I told my wife to save that.”

He said looking forward to the possibility of getting into the truck again someday gave him hope.

Farley began driving tow truck when he was 16 years old, working for his father, the namesake of Harold’s Towing. He bought the company in 1991.

Farley had to travel to Chicago every three weeks to be treated. He was confined to a wheelchair at that point, and he credits his wife Susan and children Brian and Stacy with his ability to get there.

“My health wouldn’t allow me to get there without them,” he said. “They were a big part of me being healed today. I was within two weeks of being dead according to them.”

He said it took six months for the cancer to be eradicated, with quality care from the Cancer Treatment Centers.

“Credit for me being back on my feet goes to the Cancer Treatment Centers,” he said. “I’ve never in my life seen that kind of quality in a facility. All they do is cancer, so they do it well.”

Nevertheless, the chemotherapy took its toll, and it would take another year for Farley to heal from it.

“When I’d go over there for cancer treatment, you’d be on an IV being treated for seven hours at a time,” he said. “It’s amazing how much that destroys your body.”

The time of healing was rough for Farley, in part because it meant he would have to spend his days in the house not working, wishing for human contact while his wife worked. After the decades he had spent in the towing business, he missed it.

“I still enjoy my customers; I still enjoy being in the truck,” he said. “The best way I can relate it is you have a favorite dessert you’ve had for 40 years, then it’s taken away from you. You can live without it but you’re sure going to miss it.”

After a year and a half of being closed, Harold’s Towing, now Farley’s Towing, reopened in June. And when it did, the customers came back, something Farley expressed gratitude for.

“The company closed overnight; I didn’t have time to contact customers,” he said. “I had stage 4 advanced. I was really fortunate that after a year and a half, customers picked me back up. My connections over 41 years have made that easier. ... It felt nice.”

He was also happy to be well enough to obtain his Class A commercial driver’s license.

“You have to be in pretty good health to get that from your doctor,” he said. “It’s a difficult thing to get a two-year driving card. Since I’ve healed up everything’s been going well for me.”

This time around, a few things have changed, though. Farley noted that the company is now female-owned, his wife being the owner.

“For the first time in my life I’m the manager of the company and not the owner. I’m not sure if that’s a promotion or a demotion,” he said with a laugh. “Probably a promotion — I can say, ‘Talk to that lady.’”

His days of working 24/7 are also over, Farley said.

“I work 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and take Sundays off,” he said. “I’ll be 59 in September, but after the ordeal I went through, I value time. If someone gives you their time, they’ve given you their most valuable investment. There’s nothing more unforgiving than time. There’s no reimbursement on that. That’s why I’ll no longer run a 24 hours, seven days a week business.”

His battle with cancer has altered his outlook on life in other ways too.

“Money loses its value,” he said. “As my wife says, your family and friends become more important than a higher income. After that ordeal you change your priorities.”

Farley’s Towing is located at 2665 S. Flowage Lake Rd., West Branch. For more information, call 989-387-8940.

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Karen Freeman

This a wonderful story. It goes to show you that your respect for others goes a long way., Good Luck in the Future, Maay God continue to Bles you.

Monday, August 12 | Report this

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