Help Alex Beat Multiple Sclerosis

For: Alex Rayfiel
Organizer: Julia Rayfiel
Help Alex Beat Multiple Sclerosis (Alex Rayfiel)
of $120,000 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 641 donors

The Story

Please help Alex get a life-saving stem cell transplant to stop his Multiple Sclerosis! We are planning to travel to Israel to receive this miracle treatment at Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. We need your support to make it a reality!

Alex's Story:

It was a day like any other when Alex realized his parking meter was about to run out and he needed to run to pay it in time. Only this time, as he tried to run, his legs wouldn't cooperate. We realized that something was definitely wrong, and made an appointment with his doctor. After several MRI's, the diagnosis was unfortunately clear - Alex had Multiple Sclerosis. 

In Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a person's immune system attacks the fatty insulation layer surrounding their neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This makes it harder for nerve signals to get through, and eventually leads to inflammation that can damage the nerves permanently. Right now, Alex is having weakness and tightness in his leg muscles which makes it difficult to walk, problems with balance and coordination, lowered sensation below his knees, and extreme fatigue. Unfortunately, the symptoms are getting steadily worse.

We had been focused on welcoming baby Natalia and settling in to our new place in the Bay Area when we were first hit with this diagnosis in January. It shook up our entire world. We had to face the uncertainty of how bad it could get. We realized that Alex could lose not only his ability to walk, but even lose sensation and function in most of his body. Our life plan was suddenly irrelevant. And no medication could stop this. The newest drug, Ocrevus, would only slow down the progression a tiny bit, while putting Alex at increased risk of infections and cancer. With limited options, we decided to try a holistic approach. Alex started a diet that has been shown to help people with MS. He started taking supplements and learned exercises in physical therapy to help him with his leg muscles. If his immune system was going to attack his nervous system, we were going to do our best to support his body against the damage. But despite our best efforts and new lifestyle, we can see the disease quickly progressing further.

This is when I started searching online, and found out that a cure for MS does exist! In many hospitals around the world, a treatment called HSCT (hematopoietic stem cell transplant) is achieving success in stopping the disease. In HSCT, high-intensity chemotherapy is first used to kill the person's immune system. Then the person's own stem cells are collected from their blood and get re-injected to restart the immune system with a clean slate. The stem cells don't know to attack the myelin sheath anymore, and the disease progression should stop. It's an extremely difficult treatment, with very real risks of life-threatening complications, and recovery can take many months. But it's Alex's best chance at stopping the disease from progressing further. In the most recent study from Spain, all patients who underwent HSCT and were not significantly disabled going into it, were able to successfully stop the disease! In fact, many patients have even been able to reverse a few of their symptoms. We are so incredibly hopeful that this treatment will be the cure we've been desperately praying for.

Alex can't be accepted for a clinical trial in the US or Canada because they are currently not treating his specific form of the disease. Luckily, there are several clinics in the world which do treat the form of MS that Alex has, and we have chosen to travel to Israel to get treatment at Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. The treatment costs $120,000 and will take approximately 2 months. Afterwards, Alex will need 3-6 months to get past the toughest symptoms, and then 1-2 years for his immune system to recover completely. Our biggest priority after the treatment will be to keep Alex home and safe from life-threatening infections until his immune system is strong enough to function well again.

Our little family is doing our best to gather together the funds needed for this miracle treatment for Alex, but we could really use your help. Whether it's a prayer, words of encouragement, a facebook share, a small donation, or a bigger one - we would be incredibly grateful for your support!

If you would like your donation to be tax-deductible, you may donate through AEPi. Please make sure to put Alex's name in the notes/comments when submitting the donation.

Note: If you already donated before the AEPi fund was set up, please don't hesitate to contact Julia or Alex so we can refund your donation and you can give through the AEPi link instead. Unfortunately we can't return the credit card fee, because that's taken out before we receive donations.

Alternatively, you may use venmo (Alex's username is alex-rayfiel), or send a check to:

Alexander Rayfiel
1080 Tanland Drive Apt. 101
Palo Alto, CA 94303

To follow Alex's story, like his facebook page here:

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on July 19, 2017

Posted on July 19, 2017

It is with immense gratitude and excitement that I can officially say – WE DID IT! With the help of over 640 donations, including a generous grant from an anonymous donor in the Jewish community, we have raised the $120,000 for my treatment in Israel, as well as all of our expenses while we are there!

The amount of emotion I have while writing these words cannot be understated. My heart is full and I’ve been extremely humbled by all of your support.

Thank you to every single person who donated, whether it was $18 or $1,800, every single donation was so important and so much appreciated. It is because of each and every one of you that I can now fly to Israel and try to reclaim my life. You have all given me this chance to beat my disease, and I plan to take it head-on.

This experience has given me a whole new perspective on what is truly important in life, and has reinforced my belief in God and the good of people.

From the bottom of my heart, and with all of my soul – Thank you.

- Alex

Posted on July 13, 2017

Posted on July 13, 2017

We have some exciting news! Alex's fraternity, AEPi, has been so supportive and has set up a fund in his name. Anything you give to this fund is tax deductible for you! So if you haven't donated yet or would like to donate more, you can use this link to do it. And don't forget to say that this donation is for Alex Rayfiel in the Notes/Comments!

If you have ALREADY donated before this fund was set up and would like to do it through AEPi instead, please don't hesitate to message Alex or Julia about it. We will refund your donation to you (minus any credit card fee which was already taken out), and you can re-do it through AEPi. Please don't hesitate to contact us, because we want you to receive the tax benefits if you need them.

We are getting closer and closer to our goal! Thank you guys for all the love, support, and encouragement. It means the world to us.

Posted on June 22, 2017

Posted on June 22, 2017

Alex's treatment dates have just been confirmed by Shaare Zedek! He will be starting pre-treatment appointments and tests on August 7th, and will start treatment 10 days later!

Thanks to all your incredible generosity, we are almost halfway to our fundraising goal. We have until mid-July to pay for the treatment, so let's keep sharing in all our social networks, with family, with coworkers, with anyone else you can think of!

We also have a few restaurant fundraisers in the works, and we'll be sharing details on those soon.

We are so incredibly excited to get to Israel and to beat MS!

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