Omagh man bids to get wife MS treatment in Mexico

Omagh man Paul McLaren has launched a fundraising campaign to get his wife Sandra groundbreaking treatment in Mexico.

Paul has watched Sandra (40) go from an active sportswoman to being confined to a wheelchair since a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis six years ago.

With the illness progressing rapidly, Paul and Sandra are attempting to raise 100,000 euro to go to Mexico this July for stem cell treatment.

Paul, who currently lives in Tipperary, said, “There is no conventional medication that will halt the progression so this is a our last hope to halt it spreading further.

“We have two boys Seán 10 and Conor 8. The MS is now in Sandra’s spine and if things carry on the prognosis is she will lose the power in our arms. Not being able to pick up are boys is so hard for her, so to be at a stage she may be unable to give them a hug is unbearable.

“That is why we are appealing for help to raise this money to give Sandra the best possible quality of life with our family. We have received so much support in hosting a range of fundraising events and any help we can get from back home in Omagh will be greatly appreciated.”

Paul has actually been trying to convince Sandra for the past year to seek this treatment overseas and start a fundraising campaign.

Sandra said, “I was reluctant because of the need for fundraising and asking people to donate money. Everyone has their own problems and for me it is hard to ask for help, but I have no choice as this treatment is my only hope. If I get any worse I may not get the chance again.

“I will be in Mexico for the full month. They start with chemotherapy and drain the stem cells from the bone marrow, separating that from the blood. They then freeze the stem cells and undergo further chemotherapy to shut your whole immune system down. I will then be in isolation for six to ten days and hope I don’t pick up any infections. They then put back in the stem cells and hopefully I will be good to go.

“This is a lot to go through and there are a lot of side affects. I will come back a different person to my children. I wont have any hair. I will be wearing a mask and will look very, very sick. I wont have energy or be allowed people for quite a while in case I pick up an infection.”

“My hope is that it will halt the progression of the disease. As hard as it is in the wheelchair, if this treatment means I stay as I am and can manage that would be a success. If after this I can take a step, it would just be a bonus for me. It is in my spine and my fear is in the future I soon wont be able to use my arms to hug my children. I don’t know If I could still keep smiling if that happened. That is why I am going for this and I really hope it works.”

Sandra’s treatment is scheduled to start on July 22. If you wish to make a donation see the online donation link on the ‘Sanies Trust’ Facebook page or visit any Credit Union and make a donation into the ‘Sanies Trust’ account.

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