The daughter of a Celtic legend has revealed a special tribute she has planned for what would have been his birthday.

Frank McGarvey became the world’s most expensive footballer when he signed for the Hoops in 1980 for £270,000, and he went on to play for the Parkhead club until 1985.

He would have been celebrating his 68th year on Sunday, March 17 but he sadly died in January 2023 after a painful battle with pancreatic cancer.

To mark the day, his daughter Jenny Kane and his eight grandchildren are going to eat birthday cake, write messages for Frank and ‘send them to heaven’ in balloons.

Glasgow Times:

Jenny is also teaming up with Pancreatic Cancer Action Scotland to raise awareness of the signs of the disease after Frank was ‘palmed off’ by doctors when he started feeling unwell over a year before his death.

His symptoms included a pain in his chest that radiated through to his back, which Frank initially shrugged off as he had recently had a knock from a car door.

He also started to lose his appetite and lose weight, leading his loved ones to become more worried.

Glasgow Times:

Jenny said: “Dad went to the doctors five or six times in spring 2022 and was misdiagnosed.

“One night he phoned 999 as he was experiencing chest pain. I was repeatedly calling and emailing his GP surgery to try and get some answers.” 

READ MORE: 'He never gave up': Celtic fans remember Frank McGarvey in touching tributes

Frank was eventually sent for a chest X-ray in September of that year, while over 900 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year, nothing was found.

He continued to struggle, and his weight dropped, concerning his family even more.

Glasgow Times: Jenny with FrankJenny with Frank (Image: Supplied by McGarvey family)

After finally getting referred for a CT scan, Frank was given the news that he had pancreatic cancer, something that was unfamiliar to the family.

Jenny said: “I had never heard of pancreatic cancer before, but I knew deep down there was something that wasn’t right.

“I wish I had seen one of the posts on Pancreatic Cancer Action Scotland’s social media channels listing the symptoms. I think I would have made the connection and thought of pancreatic cancer.” 

Glasgow Times:

With a five-year survival rate of 5.7%, pancreatic cancer is the deadliest of all common cancers and around 26 people die from it every day.

Only 10% of cases are detected in time for surgery, and with no routine screening programme, any chance of detecting the disease relies on knowing and recognising the symptoms.

As well as back and chest pain and loss of appetite, people can experience jaundice, pale and smelly stools, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, new-onset diabetes not associated with weight gain, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

On average, most people visit their GP four times before being diagnosed.

Glasgow Times:

But even after the diagnosis, it took six weeks before Frank was referred for treatment, and doctors then told him they could not offer him chemotherapy.

He had been given painkillers and indigestion medication, neither of which were helping.

Jenny feels it is crucial to make more people aware of the disease, especially given what she has witnessed her dad go through first-hand.

She said: “Pancreatic cancer feels like the forgotten cancer. My Dad died in pain. No-one should have to go through that suffering.

“When Dad was diagnosed, he said to me ‘Jenny, we need to tell people about this’.

“So, as a family, we are working with Pancreatic Cancer Action Scotland to help raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.

“What we went through is not normal. It is traumatic. We want to make sure no one else has to go through what our family has.” 

Glasgow Times:

The family will unite in their grief and honour Frank on his birthday, with the tribute inspired by his grandchildren who desperately want to see him again.

Jenny said: “Dad has eight grandchildren who miss him so much every day.

“My two older daughters, Jessica and Antonia, talk about their Papa all the time.

“I told them he is up in heaven, and they ask me ‘maybe we can get a lift up there to see him?’.”

To find out more about Pancreatic Cancer Action Scotland’s work, visit