My Name is Charlotte Dartnell the eldest daughter of Phil Dartnell. My Dad was diagnosed with MS in September 2003 when I was 8 and my youngest sister was 1. It started with an episode of double vision in 2000, which didn't mean anything on its own, then dad woke up one day with complete numbness in his left arm and after having an MRI at the hospital he was diagnosed with a life changing disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
My dad is a very strong willed man, he worked as a black taxi driver in London for 30 years and loved his job, as a sociable man he got to interact with such a wide range of people. He was very active and a big part of the community when we were growing up. But over the past 15 years he has lost the complete use of his legs, which lead to him retiring at 56 in 2016, but even in the 6 years before that he would only be able to go out for a couple of hours a week.
This disease has changed my dads life, he was house bound for over a year before he was moved into a specially adapted flat. He struggles with the everyday tasks we take for granted, like getting up and out of bed, or making and transporting a cup of tea from the kitchen to the living room. Which is very difficult to do when you need both your hands to wheel yourself in a straight line!
My dad has tried every single disease modifying drug that the NHS can offer him, none of them have prevented a relapse or stopped the progression of his MS. Worst of all one of them actually gave my dad a heart attack, which lead to him recovering in hospital for 3 weeks.
The next step to halting the MS progression for my dad is HSCT, which is a break through treatment which consists of chemotherapy wiping out his immune system and then regrowing it using his own stem cells. It basically ‘resets’ the immune system to stop it attacking the central nervous system. As well as halting the progression of MS, it has also been known to enable the wheelchair bound patients to start walking again. This treatment is available on the NHS, but as my dad cannot walk 20 meters he doesn't qualify, and as his EDDS (Extended Disability Status Scale) score is above 6.5 he doesn't qualify for private treatment in the UK.
HSCT is offered in Mexico at Clinica Ruiz, but it costs $54,500 + flights. My dad is a very proud man and very rarely accepts help from even his immediate family, but unfortunately none of us are millionaires. So we require help from you, even the smallest donation will help us reach our mammoth target of £45,000.
My dad is getting worst every day, and is starting to lose the ability of his arms, so this treatment would save his life and change it again, but for the better.
I actually don't know what I would do if my dad started walking again, but I know it would be the best day of my life, and the best day of my brother and sisters lives too.
Thank you for taking the time to read his story.
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