|Woman Heads to China for Stem Cell Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis|
|周三, 16 1月 2008 08:00|
There are no translations available.
Source: The Guardian
By Steve Sharratt
Canada does not allow treatment Margo Oliver seeks
MONTAGUE — An Island couple is heading to China next month but not for the Olympic Games.
Instead they’ll be enduring their own olympian efforts as Margo Oliver undergoes a stem cell transplant that she can only obtain halfway around the world.
They have paid into the Canadian medical system for years — Mark as a police officer with the RCMP for almost 30 years and Margo as a customs agent for almost 20 years — but all those contributions won’t pay a cent towards her treatment.
The couple is cobbling together $35,000 from savings and with the help of family and friends to put the trip together that may give Margo, stricken with multiple sclerosis, a better shot at life. Both Canada and the United States won’t allow such controversial treatment.
“It’s bad enough what Margo is going through, but what’s worse is that we can’t access this medical treatment in our own country,” says Mark.
“I mean, we should be able to go to Halifax and every other Canadian should have it available in their large hospitals.”
But in the continual controversy of medical research, North America has shunned the treatment that is only offered in China, Mexico or Costa Rica.
Margo suffers from secondary progressive MS which has become particularly aggressive. She can stand but only with support and she’s beginning to lose the use of her arms. It’s at the point now the couple wants to take whatever chances there might be.
“There’s no guarantee it will work but I’d rather try it,” she said during an interview at her home in Montague.
“I’ve had drugs for years to try and control it and nothing worked so I stopped taking them.”
In fact, the drugs she took in her former home in B.C. cost around $30,000 a year and were covered by her Canadian medical plan.
There have been some success stories of patients who have attended the clinic in Shenyang — some who have been able to walk and get around again.
Margo will be injected with stem cells every five days and undergo a vast array of other treatments as well.
Her husband Mark will share the hospital room with her where they will stay for almost a month.
They’re hoping for a Valentine wish to come true. They leave Feb. 13 and return March 14 and will post a blog and keep in touch via e-mail.