Family rallies for mum’s MS fight

The Huntingdale resident was just beginning to enjoy some time to herself when the debilitating disease started to become aggressive.

Her three children had all grown up to become independent, successful young adults, despite having to overcome illnesses.

Mrs Mitchell�s oldest daughter spent her childhood dealing with neurofibromatosis and her son had kawasaki disease.

Between them, they had 21 operations.

After spending years in and out of hospitals, Mrs Mitchell was relieved to see her children grow into healthy adults.

But while Mrs Mitchell was raising her children and working full-time, she started to feel slightly off-balance at times and fatigued.

She dismissed it and carried on until five years ago, when she started to feel a �throb in her eye� and then had trouble with her vision.

�I had put it down to old age but eventually decided to have laser surgery,� she said.

�Two weeks later, my eyes weren�t as good as I thought they should be.�

Her neurologist sent her to have an MRI scan, which revealed it was not her eyes that were the problem � it was MS and it was believed she may have had it for the past 15 years.

Mrs Mitchell was determined to keep working and remain active, but the MS became more debilitating, to the point where she could not walk unaided and needed a wheelchair to meet a friend for lunch, watch her son play baseball or go shopping.

Two years ago, she had to stop working.

She went on a series on injections to try to slow the progress of the disease, but there were no signs of improvement.

Mrs Mitchell�s youngest daughter Hollie (19) said it was beyond painful to watch her mum battle MS, so she started researching alternative treatment options.

�My mum would like to know that it�s not going to get any worse for her, that this is the worst it�ll get and then learn how to deal with that,� she said.

Hollie came across Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) treatment for MS.

In basic terms, the treatment uses chemotherapy to clear the immune system attacked by MS, then harvested stem cells are implanted to help rebuild a healthy immune system.

After a rehabilitation period, the treatment is reported to stop the MS from progressing.

HSCT is not an approved treatment in Australia, but it is available in many hospitals around the world.

Hollie said because her mother had secondary progressive MS, only a limited number of hospitals used HSCT to treat it.

Clinica Ruiz in Puebla, Mexico, has accepted Mrs Mitchell for treatment on June 29, but the family must first raise $61,000.

Mrs Mitchell said she was hopeful the treatment would be a success.