In April 2007, I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is a progressive disease where your own body attacks your central nervous system causing scarring (lesions) to form which interrupt signals sent from the brain to the rest of the body. There is currently no cure for MS.
I have always been someone on the move and now have 2 daughters to love and care for, except that MS is slowly halting things that make that possible. When diagnosed at 25 years old, I had numbness throughout the entire left side of my body. With time feeling in my body resumed, but about 5 years ago my MS symptoms began to reappear, new and old. It has made it so running and jogging are no longer possible and walking is not without difficulty, having to think about every step I take. I have numbness and unbearable spasms in both legs and feet. I have a huge lack of focus and concentration and memory loss is very big. It's as if most of my childhood and teenage years are nonexistent in my brain. Hot weather aka heat sensitivity makes every symptom so much worse including fatigue. There are more symptoms that have come about but not being able to keep up with my girls and enjoy life to the fullest with them has really hit me the hardest, along with knowing that my symptoms will only get worse with time. The doctors at northwestern were surprised given so many lesions on my spine that I'm not further along. This unpredictability of what lies ahead for me makes life very hard.
I learned about Hemotopioetic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) through emails I receive from the National MS Society. Hearing of its possibilities has finally given me hope. HSCT will for sure stop the progression of MS and I'll no longer need the endless injections and medications. Also as a bonus it has been shown to reverse some current symptoms and helped some regain neurologic functions previously lost. This treatment reboots the faulty immune system using chemotherapy and then rebuilds it using the patient’s own stem cells. The idea is for your immune system to learn all over again which things to attack like viruses and bacteria and which to leave alone, like Myelin (the protective covering around your nerves). It is performed in 16 hospitals around the world for MS and I have been accepted for treatment in Chicago with Dr. Burt at Northwestern Memorial Hospital!
I'm nervous and excited all the same for the possibilities to come of this treatment! I am asking for support to overcome this disease and financial help to aide with medical, travel and hotel expenses being I will have to spend over a month in Chicago. The time is broken though having to go back and forth traveling 3 separate times, staying half of the time in the hospital and the other half in a hotel. This life changing treatment costs $125,000 as a deposit only. More medical costs will occur I'm sure during treatment. I've been denied 3 times by independence blue cross and now have to pay out of pocket. Hopefully I will still be able to start treatment early May as that was my plan. Your support will help put my mind as well as my husbands at ease, while he takes great care of our beautiful children while mommy’s away getting better.
Thank you all for your love and support and for your donations. I appreciate it so so much and love you all.
Hillman Family Fund