HSCT for Jodie! Farewell MS!

For: Jodie Bissig
Laton, CA
Organizer: The Stevens & Bissig Families
HSCT for Jodie! Farewell MS! (Jodie Bissig)
of $20,000 goal
52% Complete
Raised by 83 donors

The Story

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 (12) and Matthew (8 1/2). We are fundraising for the costs we will incur as I particiapte in a clinical trial for MS. 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 a few years… and I’m only 37 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. Clinics all over the world are 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.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 13, 2018

Posted on March 13, 2018

It’s countdown time! In about a month, we head to Denver for a week of pre-testing. And in about 6 weeks, it’s time to begin! It feels a little overwhelming and a lot surreal! There are SO many moving pieces to figure out and so many decisions to be made, but we are working hard to get as ready as possible for this very big adventure. We have our flights, hotel, and car rental reserved for our first trip. We are planning to take our 5th wheel for the longer trip and we have a spot reserved and travel plans made for that, as well.

The hardest part (emotionally) has been making plans for care for my kids. I will be gone for all of May, June, and part of July. That's a long time to be without my "babies." We've talked to them and are preparing them as best we can... focusing on mommy getting healthy and how wonderful that will be for our family.

Thank you to all who are thinking of me and praying for us… we feel very loved.

Posted on January 2, 2018

Posted on January 2, 2018

I have so much good news to share! At the beginning of December, I got my MRI results - no new lesions! This is the first time I have ever (ever!) heard these words.

Then, on December 22nd, I received an even bigger Christmas gift. I won my insurance appeal! Insurance has denied me twice and this was the final appeal and handled by a third party independent review and the doctor saw an obvious medical necessity for me to have the stem cell transplant! Yahoo! I am working with Denver to schedule my pre-testing and transplant for the Spring! I will post again once I have more of the details worked out.

Posted on June 30, 2017

Posted on June 30, 2017

Denver said yes!

We visited Denver last week and had a nice time exploring the city and the Rocky Mountains. We met with the staff running the clinical trial and the neurologist, all of whom were very kind and took their time with the exams and our questions. 

And today they called and said I am eligible for the stem cell transplant! This trial is in phase II, which means no randomization and no nonsense, just my CURE - coming soon! I will now connect with a transplant coordinator who will get me scheduled for pre-testing and begin the process of renewing my insurance approval (it has unfortunately expired). We are hoping and praying this will be an easy process and I can begin treatment in the next few weeks/months. 

It’s been an exciting day! Today is actually the 15th anniversary of the day my husband proposed to me, so this must be a good day to say “YES!” 

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