MS sufferer starts campaign to get stem cell treatment

AT THE age of 23, Tracey Banks saw her mother slowly deteriorate from multiple sclerosis.

Never did she think she would succumb to the disease, which is generally believed to have no cure.

However, Ms Banks and many other Australians feel there is a potential treatment that could slow MS, if not cure it _ a haematopoietic stem cell transplant or HSCT _ which is commonly used on cancer patients.

The 46-year-old teacher's assistant at Scotch Oakburn College was diagnosed last July.

Now she worries her son, Trey, 10, will see her deteriorate as she saw her mother.

Ms Banks had an inkling she had the disease when she got a shooting sensation coming from her toes.

She has lost the sensation of feeling a needle but can feel the pressure of a touch from the chest down. She is fatigued, has numb fingers and suffers spasms throughout the night.

She believes the use of HSCT could give people with MS a chance of retaining a quality of life, but has found her Australian doctors reluctant to offer the procedure. 

However, she is hopeful her Melbourne-based neurologist will sign off on her taking part in a new HSCT trial in Sydney.

Ms Banks has started an online petition _ Please make HSCT available to Australian MS sufferers.

Ms Banks' friend, Kristy Cruise, paid $150,000 for the treatment in Moscow late last year and is back at her home on the Gold Coast showing signs that her MS is receding and will feature in a segment of 60 Minutes tomorrow night.

 To sign the petition, visit  www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/australian-government-please-make-hsct-available-to-australian-ms-suf...

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