Multiple sclerosis sufferer Finley’s Emma Simpson will travel to Russia for a month in early September, where she will undergo potentially live-saving stem cell treatment.SOPHIE BURGE July 9, 2014 3:30am
Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year, Finley’s Emma Simpson’s body has been slowly deteriorating.
The disease affects her neurological function, and worsens with every attack.
Emma has relapsing-remitting MS, which means attacks are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions), and there is no apparent progression of disease.
With scans showing no change in the disease, the 28 year-old mother of three said she’s taking the fight to a new level.
Emma flies to Russia for a month in early September, where she will undergo potentially live-saving stem cell treatment not available in Australia.
She learned about the radical treatment watching Channel’s Nine’s hit show 60 Minutes earlier this year.
‘‘After 60 Minutes aired, I emailed the Russian organisation straight away and got a date originally scheduled for March next year.
‘‘I still wasn’t sure, so my husband Kurtis and I said we would wait and see what the next MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan would show. The scans showed no progression.
‘‘The following week, I met a neurologist in Canberra who used to practice the same treatment as in Russia.
‘‘He looked at the MRI scans and advised me to go straight to Russia. I was put on a waiting list, then they (the Russian organisation) came back with September 9.’’
Until now, Emma has been receiving monthly infusions of a disease modifying drug. If the Russian treatment does not work, she will need to continue the regular transfusions.
The Russian treatment involves stem cell transplants and chemotherapy and there is no guarantee the treatment will work.
The Russian clinic has completed 280 of these treatments with an 80 per cent success rate, but Emma said MS progression is still a possibility after the treatment.
Emma’s MS has been gradually worsening for more than six months, and there’s a possibility she’s been fighting the disease for several years.
‘‘I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS on October 23 last year.
‘‘I hadn’t felt well since I had my daughter three years ago, but I put it down to other things.
‘‘In October the left side of my face went numb, so I went for MRI scans in Albury. Follow up scans in Melbourne confirmed the MS.
‘‘Around Christmas time, my lower back to knee went numb and my right leg would drag.
‘‘I started treatment in January with an infusion every 28 days which I was having in Melbourne, then Shepparton.’’
Finley and district rallied behind Emma following her diagnosis, helping her fundraise for MS Australia through a 24-Hour mega swim event in Shepparton in March.
Two Finley teams raised a combined $16,567, and that was before Emma had learned about the Russian treatment.
The community is again getting behind Emma in her health battle, with several fundraisers planned to help her cover the costs of treatment.
She will need at least $60,000 to go to Russia, where she will be accompanied by her mother Libby West.
The treatment alone will almost $43,000 Australian.
Travel and other expenses must also be covered, and Emma has been advised to return to Australia flying business class because her immune system will be compromised.
Recovery from the treatment could take up to two years, depending on the individual. Emma will be unable to return to work until she has fully recovered.
‘‘The flights are expensive and my mother is coming with me, so there’s expenses with that too. She’s staying for the month with me.
‘‘When I made this decision to go to Russia, we as a family were financially prepared to take this on. We did not expect people to fundraise the way they are.
‘‘It sends me speechless the amount of community support I have received. I can’t believe how much effort people are going to, it’s remarkable.
‘‘It’s not until you go through something like this you realise how lucky you are to live in Finley.’’
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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