London woman fights to walk again

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X

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Fifteen years ago Patricia O’Connor of London, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

After 8 years of university and a promising career ahead, the news of her diagnosis hit her hard, “I’m a nutritionist, I took RN and I took pre-med after that. I just felt like I was hopeless.”

When she learned she had MS – which damages the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord – she travelled to various locations for treatments to improve her health.

The damage caused by MS can affect one’s motor skills, coordination and even eye sight. About 8 years ago, O’Connor lost the ability to walk and has been using a scooter since, “I can’t drive, I can’t so anything. My life was ruined.”

But that glimmer of hope returned earlier this year when O’Connor heard of a breakthrough stem cell procedure in California. The procedure takes mesenchymal stem cells and binds them with adipose tissue (fat from the stomach, arm or buttocks). The new tissue is then reintroduced to the body via intravenous injection.

Unfortunately, when she started planning her trip, she came to the conclusion that it wasn’t plausible, due to costs and risks, “with the [dollar] conversation, and staying over… what if something goes wrong? I would have to go to the hospital, which would cost a fortune. I’m too scared to take that risk.”

But hope wasn’t quite lost yet. O’Connor heard of a doctor in Vancouver who was experimenting with the same procedure, and she quickly set her sights on the West. She says, “I printed out testimonies of people who had this surgery in Vancouver, and [some of them] got 90% of their health back.”

Being that her parents were immigrants, she doesn’t have many relatives. Her siblings are all out of province, and her parents are aging. This poses a problem when it comes to support – both mental and financial.

To help with the financial support, she recently started a GoFundMe page to help with the costs of the trip.

13781889_10157166385875521_5702409571179632386_nShe’s also started fundraising on her own, by selling flowers in her neighborhood.

On top of getting her health back, O’Connor hopes to raise awareness on this horrible disease. She wrote a book in 2014 titled Hereditary Hemochromatosis? and Vitamin D Deficiency from UVB radiation (sunlight) Originating from Northern Europe: The Cause of Multiple Sclerosis.”

It’s a small book, and may not be easy for everyone to understand, but recommends it those or family members of those, struggling with MS.

O’Connor’s surgery is set for September and invites anyone willing, to donate.

GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/patoconnor

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