Help Paul restore his vision

$5,350 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 63 people in 31 months
Christine Osterman  COLUMBUS, OH
My husband, Paul Walker has been visually impaired his entire life.  He was born with cataracts.  From the ages of about one to five, he had multiple eye surgeries to break up the cataracts. 

When Paul was about thirteen,  he lost all vision in what had been his "good" eye over the space of just a week or two.  Many years later, we discovered that the vision loss was caused by a genetic condition known by Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.  In Leber's, vision loss results from the death of cells in the nerve that relays visual information from the eyes to the brain (the optic nerve.)  Shortly after that, the retina in his right eye detached, and has been chronically detached since then, leaving him without even light perception in that eye. 

When Paul was in his 20's, he developed glaucoma in his left eye, resulting in gradually losing a great deal of the vision in that eye.

Through all of that, there have been good developments.  One was becoming associated with Guide Dogs for the Blind.  Paul was matched with his first Guide Dog, Hero, in September 2002.  Hero helped Paul to regain the independence that he had gradually given up over the years.  Paul is pictured with his second Guide Dog, Avanti. They have been a team for the last four years.  Paul feels very fortunate to be associated with Guide Dogs and to have had these two wonderful dogs as part of his life.

Another happy development is the opportunity to take part in a clinical study, Stem Cell Ophtalmology Treatment Study (SCOTS).
The study is registered with the National Institutes Of Health and the National Eye Institute.  The study uses stem cells from the patient's own bone marrow.  The stem cells are extracted and injected around and into the eye itself. Successful clinical studies of the procedure have already been conducted in Austria and India with patients' vision improving as much as four lines on the eye chart. Paul was referred to the study by his neuro-ophtalmologist.  She has two patients who have already participated in the study and have had noticeable improvements in their vision. 

The study charges a fee of $19,600 to participate, none of which is covered by insurance.  Paul and I are funding the majority of the fee ourselves from our retirement savings.  Because the study is being conducted in Fort Lauderdale, we will also be incurring travel and lodging expenses for a week while visiting the clinic.   Covering those expenses as well as a portion of the fee is our goal for this fund.

Throughout his life, Paul has said that he hoped he lived long enough for medical science to be able to make a difference in his condition.  With this study, we feel that the time is now!
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Update 8
28 months ago

More good news to share! Paul went to the neuro-ophthalmologist yesterday. We thought she was just going to do a pressure check for his glaucoma. She actually did a full exam; I think she's as excited as we are to see the results. And the results were that he was able to read one more line on the eye chart. That makes two additional lines in the seven weeks since he had the procedure!
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Update 7
29 months ago

We had an exciting, excellent appointment with Paul's neuro-ophthalmologist this afternoon. He was able to read one more line on the chart than he could before! She did an ultrasound of his eye, and the optic nerve has changed to a much healthier shape. Both the retina and optic nerve are pinker and healthier looking. All this in just a little over three weeks since the procedure!

Thanks to everyone for the prayers and the good thoughts. Please keep them coming. Your support means so much.
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Update 6
29 months ago

Paul and I are so amazed by all your support...the donations, the prayers, the good thoughts sent our way. We are now at the harder part of the process-waiting and hoping for results. Paul's first follow up with his neuro-ophtalmogist is on April 24th. We are both eager to find out what changes she will find. Please continue to keep Paul in your thoughts and prayers.
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Update 5
30 months ago

A message to you from Paul:

Hello All,
First, Thank you all again for your thoughts and good wishes. They are so very much appreciated. We are back home today from Florida and my having the Stem Cell procedure. I had an appointment with Dr. Weiss on Monday and was formally cleared for the procedure. Up early Tuesday morning and off to the Surgical Center and was prepped for the 8:30 start time. All went very well and I managed not to be too nervous. The procedure took about an hour and I woke up with no side effects from the anesthesia. A little snack and I was released about 12:30. The surgical center facility was very good and the nurses and staff were very attentive and conscientious. The Doctor and his techs were also excellent. I had only moderate eye discomfort the day of surgery, and some itching and minor soreness after that. Most of that has cleared.
Now the waiting to see the results which could take up to six months.

Paul
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Mark Van Helden
29 months ago

Regarding the last update on results, this must be absolutely wonderful news for Paul, and others like me anticipating these kind of results. Please keep us informed over the coming months, and good luck!

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Fran Daniels
29 months ago

Hope your husband is doing well. I would love to speak with you about this procedure my number is 516-728-4061

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Jessica Figueroa
29 months ago

Pray your results are all positive.

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$5,350 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 63 people in 31 months
Created February 22, 2014
Christine Osterman  
$100
Anonymous
26 months ago
$250
Anonymous
29 months ago
AM
$88
Adam Makos
29 months ago

Sorry this took so long, have been off facebook and didn't notice until now.

KV
$50
Kerry Van
30 months ago
$50
Anonymous
30 months ago
TS
$50
Theresa Stern
30 months ago
JW
$25
Jim & Judy Whalen
30 months ago

We wish you the best of luck and safe travels. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers. Co-Worker of Meghan's - Trinidad Benham.

$100
Anonymous
30 months ago
RC
$100
Rowe Chris & Connie
30 months ago

Very exciting. Wish you the best.

$25
Anonymous
30 months ago
Mark Van Helden
29 months ago

Regarding the last update on results, this must be absolutely wonderful news for Paul, and others like me anticipating these kind of results. Please keep us informed over the coming months, and good luck!

+ Read More
Fran Daniels
29 months ago

Hope your husband is doing well. I would love to speak with you about this procedure my number is 516-728-4061

+ Read More
Jessica Figueroa
29 months ago

Pray your results are all positive.

+ Read More
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