Mandy Foreman, AKA DJ Lil Mandy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in March of 2013. She was forced to quit working in October 2013. This journey has been difficult. We have traveled to Chapel Hill SEVENTY-Two times (according to Mandy's myUNCchart!) SEVENTY-TWO times. She has had three different MRI's three times each, seventeen Tysabri infusions, seven days of steroids, twelve Neurology appointments, twelve physical therapy appointments, one eye exam, and other various appointments... Her disease course hasn't gotten better or worse, and the lesions on her brain have not increased in size. Basically, she's stable.
The disease modifying drugs used to treat MS do come with risks. Shes tested regularly (every 3 months) for the JC virus-which causes PML-a rare brain infection that is almost always severy disabling/deadly. As you can probably guess, this costs a lot of money. Just the drive alone costs me a full tank ($25), Lunch ($8-$15), co-pay, (generally $10 then billed for the medicine, bloodwork, etc) and then I fill my tank upon return.
$50x72: $3,600 just in travel costs, and this does not include upkeep on our vehicles, my time off work, parking at the hospital, or breakfast/lunch/dinner and hotels when we needed to stay for days at a time.
I'm SURE the figres would double.
SOME PEOPLE QUESTION WHY WE TRAVEL TO CHAPEL HILL. TO CLEAR UP ANY CONFUSION, I WILL EXPLAIN.
Mandy recieves financial assistance from Biogen, the pharmacuetical company that makes Tysabri. They only administer Tysabri in clinics enrolled in the TOUCH program. UNC Chapel Hill is enrolled. She also recieved Charity Care when she was underinsured, and Pharmacy Assistance when she didn't have any perscription coverage. Chapel Hill has been been a blessing. She is scheduled immediaitly, tne infusion center always has her medicine (IV solution) on time, and the nurses always make her feel comfortable, safe. and cared for.
That's why every dollar donated has went directly into an account meant for her Medical Needs. EVERY DOLLAR donated goes to keeping her stable.
Definition of MS
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
In MS, an abnormal immune system response produces inflammation in the central nervous system. This process:
1 .Damages/destroys myelin and oligodendrocytes
2. Causes damage to the underlying nerve fiber
3. Produces damaged areas (lesions or scars) along the nerve, which can be detected on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
4. Slows or halts nerve conduction – producing the neurologic signs and symptoms of MS
MS is a lifelong, incurable disease which affects people in many different ways.
MS is a serious chronic, progressive disease and can be severely disabling.
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