A mum from West Yorkshire has started to see improvements following pioneering treatment for MS in Mexico.
Kate Dawson raised £45,000 in less than a month after speaking out about she hoped the treatment would prevent her from ending up in a wheelchair.
The 41-year-old returns home on Saturday (July 16) and told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The stem cell transplant went really well and I have already started to see improvements in my balance and walking.
“I am aware it will take a while see all the benefits. They say 12 to 18 months to build my immunity and strength along with build muscle – so I’ll be on the exercise bike daily when I get home.”
Kate, from Ackworth, near Pontefract, was fitness fanatic when she was diagnosed with MS aged 35. The disease has affected her mobility and she’s had to give up her job as a teacher at Ackworth School.
The NHS hasn’t been able to offer treatment but she discovered HSCT, which has successfully treated MS.
She needed to raise £45,000 to go to a clinic in Mexico and after her story was reported, donations flooded in, including an anonymous one for £32,000.
Kate has been undergoing the gruelling procedures, including a stem cell transplant and chemotherapy, over the past month.
“Now everything has sunk in, I am so overwhelmed by people’s kindness in allowing me to make this journey for treatment,” she added.
“The power of people and their generosity has been remarkable and I will be eternally grateful.”
The treatment involves creating a new immune system from the patient’s own stem cells.
Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) sees stem cells being harvested from bone marrow. Chemotherapy then destroys the patient’s current immune system and the stem cells are reintroduced, rebooting the immune system. In some patients it has halted the disease and others have seen an improvement – research in Sheffield reported “remarkable results” for some patients. Kate’s treatment will continue with bi-monthly infusions in Manchester for the next 12 months.