Com­mu­nity ral­ly­ing be­hind MS pa­tient

Hant’s Har­bour man hope­ful that Bul­garia trip will im­prove his qual­ity of life

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BUR­TON K. JANES bur­tonj@nfld.net

Friends and fam­ily of Dave King of Hant’s Har­bour are fundrais­ing to help him pay the cost of so-called “lib­er­a­tion treat­ment” in Bul­garia this fall.

Dave King of Hant’s Har­bour has no in­ten­tion of sur­ren­der­ing to the dis­cour­age­ment Mul­ti­ple Scle­ro­sis suf­fer­ers of­ten feel.

“ There’s no point in be­com­ing dis­cour­aged or down­hearted,” the 47-year-old stated. “If you take that at­ti­tude, you’re not go­ing to get bet­ter.”

King was di­ag­nosed with MS in 1996. Since then, he has fought the on­slaught of the dis­ease with ev­ery ounce of en­ergy.

The Na­tional MS So­ci­ety web­site de­fines the con­di­tion as “a chronic, of­ten dis­abling dis­ease that attacks the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and op­tic nerves.”

Since his di­ag­no­sis, King has tried sev­eral drugs, in­clud­ing daily in­jec­tions, chemo­ther­apy and IV steroids.

“I’ve tried them all,” King said. “ The only hope with nee­dles is to keep you in the place where you cur­rently are.”

King com­pares his MS to “a leaky faucet. It’s al­ways there.”

Be­cause of his de­ter­mi­na­tion and will­ing­ness to try a va­ri­ety of drugs and pro­ce­dures, King has pro­longed the in­evitable — con­fine­ment to a wheel­chair. Mean­while, get­ting around is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly more dif­fi­cult.

In Fe­bru­ary, King trav­elled to Hal­i­fax and un­der­went deep-brain stim­u­la­tion. The treat­ment helped to con­trol the tremors in his right hand. On the down side, it did noth­ing to help with leg mo­bil­ity.

To­day, new treat­ments and re­search ad­vances are giv­ing re­newed hope to MS pa­tients.

One such in­no­va­tion is chronic cere­brospinal ve­nous in­suf­fi­ciency, also known as lib­er­a­tion treat­ment.

CCSVI com­pro­mises the blood flow in the veins, drain­ing the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem.

The treat­ment is promis­ing but con­tro­ver­sial. Peo­ple with MS re­gard it as ef­fec­tive treat­ment, while most of the med­i­cal com­mu­nity ques­tion the re­sults of the pro­ce­dure.

Be­cause CCSVI is un­avail­able in Canada, King is plan­ning a trip to Bul­garia, one of the coun­tries where the treat­ment is per­formed. He’s sched­uled to travel there in early Novem­ber.

There’s no guar­an­tee of suc­cess with lib­er­a­tion treat­ment, King ad­mit­ted. How­ever, other MS pa­tients in the prov­ince have re­ceived this treat­ment out­side Canada and have re­ported great suc­cess.

“ It’s pre­lim­i­nary,” King said. “ How­ever, I could see it work­ing. It al­lows the blood in your brain to flow again.”

The pro­ce­dure comes with a hefty price tag — around $20,000.

The pro­vin­cial Med­i­cal Care Plan does not cover any of this cost. All ex­penses, in­clud­ing travel to and from Bul­garia, tests, surgery and the sub­se­quent hos­pi­tal stay, are King’s sole re­spon­si­bil­ity.

A com­mu­nity com­mit­tee has been formed to fund-raise on be­half of the King fam­ily. Var­i­ous events are be­ing planned to as­sist in this project.

A bank ac­count, in the name of “ Dave King - Ben­e­fit Fund Com­mit­tee,” has been es­tab­lished at the Heart’s Con­tent branch of the Royal Bank for those who wish to make do­na­tions.

Dave King of Hant’s Har­bour will travel to Bul­garia in Novem­ber to un­dergo the so-called “ lib­er­a­tion treat­ment” for pa­tients with MS.

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