A Meltham mum is raising money for a “miracle” treatment that could halt her debilitating disease in its tracks.
Anja Etty, who has multiple sclerosis, hopes to raise the £54,000 needed to go to Mexico for a month-long course of treatment that could stall progression of the disease.
Anja, 41, who worked as a sales manager for Meltham-based children’s products firm A Little Bird Told Me, was diagnosed with MS in 1999.
And the disease has had a devastating effect on her family especially on her two daughters Taia, 14, and seven-year-old Tolly.
“I was fine until about three-and-a-half years ago when it hit me big time,” said Anja. “Life is very difficult now. I had to give up work, I am in a wheelchair and I can only walk very short distances with the aid of crutches.
“My mobility is always bad. There are days when my head gets very tired and I get very confused and I get very fatigued. Just lifting a cup of tea is really difficult.”
Anja is now fundraising for a trip to a clinic in Puebla, Mexico, next January for a 28-day course of treatment called Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT). She will stay in an apartment on site where some of her treatment will be carried out.
HSCT aims to “reset” the immune system. Stem cells are taken from the patient’s blood and frozen and later re-introduced into the patient’s bloodstream following chemotherapy to “clear out” the existing immune system.
The treatment is available on the NHS at two London hospitals – but only for people who have had MS for less than 15 years.
She said: “This treatment has an 85% success rate in stopping the progression of MS. Quite a lot of people get symptoms improvement and a lot of things can get better, especially in terms of fatigue and pain.”
Her initial target was to raise £45,000 – but the fall in sterling means the cost is now £54,000.
”We have raised £30,000 so far but we have more money to raise,” she said. “We began fundraising in April with a pamper party and we have also had people doing parachute jumps.
“I’m in the middle of an art sale on ebay which has already raised £500 after a single day. I have had donations of work by both professional and amateur artists, including a Turner Prize winner, Naomi Tydeman.”
Anja’s brother Marcus, who lives in Ghana, has also chipped in by raising £3,000 with a charity auction.
Now her appeal is widening out through website www.inyourfacems.com .
Anja isn’t daunted by the prospect of treatment and added: “I have so much hope and belief in this. People have been given a new lease of life.”