East Lothian dad wants to help pay for friend to get same 'miracle' MS treatment he had

Published date30 June 2022
Publication titleEdinburghLive (Scotland)
Ian Neilson, 62, and his son Jamie, 33, have shared their goal of raising £55,000 for their close friend Jemma, after she was told she had the condition a few years ago

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis himself around four years ago, Ian and Jemma, 32, met at an oxygen treatment clinic in Edinburgh, a service mostly used by those with the condition.

Struggling with his symptoms, Ian caught Covid in 2020 and suffered a severe MS relapse which left him extremely weak and quickly deteriorating.

However, after being told about a HSCT treatment in Mexico that is currently not widely offered on the NHS, the family were able to come up with the money to see Ian spend a month there along with his son Jamie.

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Now beginning to see the effects of the harsh chemotherapy and immune treatment, Ian is desperate to give Jemma, whose condition is worse than his, the same opportunity.

Speaking to Edinburgh Live, son Jamie said: 'Dad has been suffering for around seven years but only got the official diagnosis around four or five years ago. With MS you have to discount a lot of things before you finally get the diagnosis.

"He had symptoms but then in 2020 when covid hit he caught it and he had a really bad MS relapse because of it which sent him into a downward spiral, and we think he had a smaller relapse last year as well.

"He went from being pretty mobile to being in a wheelchair most of the time in just 12 months, so in March of this year he and I travelled to Mexico for the treatment, which takes a month in total."

Combining intense chemotherapy and stem cell transplant, Clinica Ruiz only offers the treatment to patients who fit the correct criteria, in an aim to prevent their MS from worsening further, and in half of cases, allow them to see improvements in their health.

Bearing through the treatment and now having been back in Scotland for a few weeks, Jamie shared how there has been a huge change in his dad's physical and mental health.

You can donate to Jemma's Mexico fundraiser here.

He added: "Of course right now he is still building his immune system back up so he's very vulnerable to infection but he is definitely heading in the right direction. He can move his toes, his fatigue has improved and he's managed to get his fitness level up, he can manage 15 minutes on the cross trainer in comparison to two or three when he was first back.

"But the biggest change has been in his...

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