A grandfather who suffers from multiple sclerosis will travel to Mexico for a pioneering new treatment which has proved life changing for his sister whose own MS left her in a wheelchair.
Anthony Knight (67), of Rimington, is scheduled to have the stem cell therapy – which will cost around £40,000 and last for 28 days – in May.
The treatment, which uses the patient’s own stem cells to prevent rejection, also uses chemotherapy.
Mexico, Canada and some eastern European countries are working with this new treatment, but it is still under trials in the UK.
The grandfather-of-nine’s condition has gradually worsened over the 30-plus years that he has fought the illness with Anthony now only able to walk to the bottom of his garden and back.
“Anthony used to go for a walk around the village, but in the last six months his condition has got progressively worse every day,” explained Anthony’s wife Joyce, nee Sharpe, (66), who used to be a practice manager in Nelson and Accrington. “Due to Anthony’s deteriorating health, the couple, who live at Pendle Terrace, have been forced to cancel a holiday to Tenerife and trips away in their caravan have also come to an abrupt end thanks to the unpredictable life-limiting condition.
“I’ve got to the stage now where I’ve just had enough,” said Anthony.
“I’m not expecting miracles, but if they can just stop it that would be amazing.”
For the former waggon driver’s sister Andrea, who lives in New Zealand, the result of the treatment has been just that.
Diagnosed with the debilitating chronic condition in the late 1980s Andrea had been confined to a wheelchair before she went for the stem cell therapy last year.
“After the treatment the progression of Andrea’s MS stopped and she is now out of her wheelchair and going to the gym to build up the muscles in her legs,” said Anthony. “It’s amazing that she has the energy to do that.”
Andrea emigrated to New Zealand when she was 17 and used to work as a post lady cycling around delivering mail. However, it was when she started to struggle with her balance and started to fall off her bike that Andrea found out that she had MS.
As well as the £40k cost of the treatment, Anthony will have to pay for his flights to Mexico separately. He will also have to pay for a course of drugs once he is home, plus a CT scan and blood tests before he goes.
The family are therefore now pulling together to help raise funds for father-of-three Anthony’s treatment including the couple’s son Chris and daughters Anna and Amy.
Wife Joyce, who suffers from diabetes and arthritis, has been making and selling a range of items locally on Clitheroe Market as well as at Pendleton Village Hall and in Chipping. She has been helped by her daughter Amy, her son Chris’s wife Heather and Heather’s mother Jean. Her daughter Anna has also been very supportive and is currently making items for Christmas.
Meanwhile, a fundraising party is being held in Chipping in January.
One of Anthony’s other sisters Joanne has also set up a JustGiving page so that people can make donations.
Anthony and Joyce, whose first great-grandchild is due in February, hope that the stem cell treatment can offer the same lifeline to Anthony as it has to his sister.
“I just want it to stop and not get any worse,” Anthony added.
Make a donation to help pay for Anthony’s treatment via - https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/AnthonyKnight?utm_id=1&utm_term=Jr5zAr2XM