Thank you for visiting my page! My name is Jodie and I live in Central California with my husband Russell and our two kids, Mia (11) and Matthew (7 1/2). We are fundraising for the costs we will incur as I particiapte in a clinical trial in Chicago. Here is my story:
My health problems started with vision loss, which to a mother, photographer, and artist, was terrifying enough. Then came the words “multiple sclerosis.” Multiple Sclerosis means “many scars.” For unknown reasons, my body attacks healthy nerves and tissues and leaves behind damage called lesions. My legs are incredibly weak, I feel off-balance, I am exhausted beyond words, and it’s a challenge just to get through the day.
And then things got worse: my medications weren’t working. I’ve had one relapse after another and my disease is aggressive. I’m now on the strongest drug available – one my neurologist calls “the big guns.” But big guns come with big risks and big side effects. Most patients can only safely be on this drug for 2 or 3 years… and I’m only 36 years old!
Even with the medications, I am struggling. What do you do when you feel your life, your independence, and your movement, slowly being taken away?
Me? I am participating in a clinical trial. Dr. Burt is a brilliant doctor at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago and he is pioneering a stem cell transplant (HSCT) that has the promise to stop MS. Essentially his treatment will reboot my faulty immune system using chemotherapy, and then rebuild it using my own stem cells. Patients who have had this treatment no longer require MS medication and the majority have NO NEW MS symptoms!
So here we go! I need strength and support and financial help to fight harder than ever to overcome this dreadful disease and be here for my daughter and son. Your donations will help with medical expenses, travel costs, and will help keep things running smoothly at home while mommy is away getting tests and treatment.
Thank you for reading my story and thank you for your donations. I am humbled and honored by the friends and family who are supporting me in this biggest challenge of my life.