News

MS sufferer pins hopes on Russian stem cell treatment

Barry and Sue Potts are fundraising to pay for her $50,000 treatment for MS.
Barry and Sue Potts are fundraising to pay for her $50,000 treatment for MS. Cathryn McLauchlan

A LISMORE woman with multiple sclerosis has found hope in a Russian stem cell treatment costing $50,000 and up to a year in recovery time.

Sue Potts was diagnosed with the disorder, which attacks the central nervous system, eight years ago.

It has greatly restricted her ability to walk and leaves her exhausted by lunch time.

"I just want to stop the progression, I don't want it to get worse," she said. "At the moment I'm fine with myself, it's just my legs, I struggle to get around."

When Mrs Potts was diagnosed in 2008 it was "bitter relief" for her and husband Barry; they had spent the past two years asking what was wrong with her.

"There were the symptoms - the pins and needles in the fingers, the numbness in the leg, double vision, but it would come and go and it wasn't all at once," Mr Potts said.

"When we got the diagnosis, it was like 'oh, crap, okay, well at least we know what it is ... what do we do from here?'

"We've learnt to cope with it, we accept it now.

"It would be great to stop it where it is but it would be even better to reverse it so Sue can come out and socialise more."

The couple first heard about the controversial stem cell treatment called HSCT in 2014, when it was featured on TV show 60 minutes.

It was reported at the time the treatment had a 1% mortality rate, down 8% from when it was first practised in Moscow a decade previously.

The treatment's developer, Dr Denis Fedorenko, will see Mrs Potts as his patient in mid February.

Mrs Potts will spend a week getting evaluated before Dr Fedorenko basically reboots her immune system using her own stem cells after high-dose chemotherapy.

"Then it's 10-14 days in isolation, so we see each other through a double-glazed window in that time," Mr Potts said.

If all goes well the couple will then return home, where Mrs Potts will need to let her immune system recover for at least six months.

Mrs Potts said she was nervous, a bit scared and excited all at the same time about the stem cell treatment.

She said her family and friends had been extremely supportive and she was hoping the community would get on-board to help her raise $20,000 for airfares, accommodation and a bit of the treatment.

The couple will hold raffles and fundraisers over the remainder of the year, but Mr Potts has also set up a GoFundMe page for people to make direct donations.

It can be accessed by searching "Stem Cell Therapy for Sue" on gofundme.com

HSCT is now available in the US, but Mr Potts said the queue for treatment was very long.

Topics:  gofundme, multiple sclerosis, russian stem cell therapy, stem cell treatment, sue potts



Is your barbecue safe for footy finals weekend

Better safe than sorry when you fire up the barbie this weekend

Author keeps Red Rock story alive

FOND MEMORIES: Red Rock resident and author of new book, The Village That Said No to Town Water, Graham Searl, flicks through the publication.

Book launch at Red Rock today

The water war that divided and unified Red Rock

FOND MEMORIES: Red Rock residents Graham Searl and Gwyn Austen reminisce on the town's fight against town water in the '80s, which is the subject of a new book.

"People on the other side used to say 'this is splitting the town'"

Local Partners

Lady Gaga confirms Super Bowl show

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga to perform in coveted spot

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

Clarence Valley property prices go through the roof

Buyers are hungry to sink their teeth into the Clarence Valley

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

NEW HOME: Agents to the rescue for family of nine

RELIEF: Tanya Cone (middle) with her kids and McKimm's Real Estate property managers Regan Firth and Nadine Greenhalgh who helped find her family a home.

DEX article prompts property managers to help family find new home