Stem cell transplant to beat Multiple Sclerosis

Hey everyone! My name is Hanna and I’m 31 year old MS fighter. Multiple sclerosis is demyelinating disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a range of signs and symptoms, including physical, mental, and sometimes psychiatric problems. Specific symptoms can include double vision, blindnessin one eye, muscle weakness, trouble with sensation, or coordination. There is no cure for MS but there is hope. The reseach to find the cure is on. The problem is we don’t know what causes the cells to attack to against ms patients. 

My story is very common. One year ago I was living active life, working a lot and raising my little son. I was happy. First signs of MS started in July 2018 as my face went numb on the right side. I spend a week in hospital as I was tested for what was going on in my body. They took a brain scan and there it was. Two callus-areas in the left side of my brain. This is the first part of MS diagnosis. It is confirmed with cerebrospinal fluid examination. On 16th of August 2018 I sat in front of my doctor to learn that I have multiple scleroris. With no cure, the disease is moving forward. My symptoms are losing my vision, extremely difficult fatigue (I am tired no matter how much I sleep.) I have difficulties with remembering things. I have pain and weakness with muscles. Sometimes it is hard to even walk. I have tried to different medicins, Plegridy and Copaxone to prevent new symptoms. First one gave me anafylaxia, second one blood poisoning. Right now I’m without any medication. 

Why I’m organizing this fundraise? Because there is still hope to recover from MS by having a stem cell transplanation. The aim of AHSCT is to replace or reboot my body’s immune system so that it no longer attacks my myelin or causes inflammation in my brain and spinal cord. AHSCT uses high doses of chemotherapy to wipe out existing immune system, which is then rebuilt using stem cells collected from blood before I have the chemotherapy. The hope is that my immune system will stop attacking me and there will be no further damage inside my brain. 

The problem is that I can’t get the stem cell transplanation in Finland, it is used only patients with critical conditions and illness like leukemia. In Sweden and Russia the research is giving positive results with AHSCT for MS patients. The disease can be stopped. There are risks but I’m ready to face them in order to have a second chance to live. 

The problem is that the treatment is extremely expensive. It can cost up to 50000 euros and I can’t afford that. So I’m asking for help. I’m 31 years old and I want to be able to raise my child and live healthy and be able to work and exercise and be mom to my child. I want my life back and with stem cell transplant it is possible. I’m considering different countries and private hospitals at the moment to find out where the transplanation could be done. Any help will be much needed and for everyone even reading my story, I appreciate your time. I wish you happiness and health in your life. 

- Hanna


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Hanna Hukka 
Lahti, Finland
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