CURE SEARCH: 14,000 journey for experimental MS treatment
AMANDA Weyman-Jones will travel halfway across the globe for a miracle treatment which could effectively stop multiple sclerosis from ravaging her body.
Having tried every available treatment in her 34-year battle with MS, Mrs Weyman-Jones is out of options in Australia.
In January she will travel to Moscow in Russia to understand undertake Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.
Between now and then, her family hopes to raise $80,000 on a GoFundMe to pay for the life-changing treatment.
"I have secondary progressive MS and in Australia they won't touch it, but in Russia they do them all the time," Mrs Weyman-Jones said.
"Any stem cell treatment is expensive; if you were to have it done in Australia, it would be covered by Medicare but, because we have to go out of Australia, it is expensive"
The treatment involves chemotherapy and stem cell transplants, followed by weeks of isolation and months in recovery.
"HSCT used for MS is similar to the chemotherapy treatment used to treat blood cancers," MS Queensland CEO Gerard Menses said.
"The aim is to re-boot the immune system so that the immune cells that are attacking an individual's nervous system are removed and replaced with the regenerated immune system, which is less likely to keep attacking the body."
It is the family's final hope for a silver bullet to stop the MS in its tracks and, with Australian HSCT trials still in their early stages, being accepted to the established program in Moscow is a dream come true.
Mrs Weyman-Jones' daughter Chloe, who will join her on the 14,000km journey has been the driving force behind both the push for treatment and the GoFundMe campaign.
The second-youngest daughter has spent every spare moment researching HSCT treatment and remains positive her mum will beat the disease but knows this is just the begin- ning of a long road ahead.
"It will prevent Mum from getting any worse, and it has a 70-80 per cent chance of working for someone with Mum's type of MS," Chloe said.
"Afterwards, Mum will come back and she will have a new immune system."
HSCT treatment would give back Mrs Weyman-Jones' quality of life, something her late brother who also suffered with MS did not get to have.
"My brother Hayward and sister Diana were both diagnosed with MS too; Hayward died last year, and Diana is in a wheelchair," Mrs Weyman-Jones said.
"This disease has caused so much havoc and drama for so many people, and it isn't just a one off thing, it is happening to so many people.
"All my family's life was looking after Hayward, then they started looking after Diana, and it was awful to see, it was so demoralising and scary seeing my future like that, and let me tell you, it is not a nice future."
Overtly familiar with the devastating effects of MS, Mrs Weyman-Jones is determined to not become a burden on her loved ones, and most importantly for her, continue working in the Overlander Motel in Roma, which the family owns and runs.
"With MS, you don't die; you can die from something like cancer, but you don't die with MS, you just rot, and it is actually horrendous to see, but it is why we are trying this treatment.
"I have six children and I want to survive for them, and I don't want to be a hindrance to people either.
"If I can avoid that, it would be a great relief, otherwise may euthanasia hit Queensland really quickly, because I don't want to go like that.
"I want to go with dignity, and want to keep on working and be worthy of being here."
Help Amanda reach her $80,000 goal HERE.