Mum’s date set for pro­ce­dure in Rus­sia

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MATTHEW SAL­MONS

Rolle­ston woman An­drea Cameron-Hill is a step closer to po­ten­tial re­lief from her mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis (MS) symp­toms with a date set for a pro­ce­dure in Rus­sia.

Cameron-Hill was di­ag­nosed with MS 10 months after the birth of her twin sons, Lach­lan and Oliver.

‘‘While I was preg­nant I had to phys­i­cally lift my left leg into the car. I just thought the boys were sit­ting on a nerve or some­thing,’’ she said.

Be­ing un­able to watch her boys play rugby from the side­lines was one of things that up­set her most.

‘‘I can’t even go onto the field with­out a strug­gle, try­ing to walk to the field, to then stand and watch the game. That’s why I ended up do­ing Google searches and found out about stem cell treat­ment.

‘‘I’m so over be­ing a spec­ta­tor in my life,’’ she said.

Cameron-Hill had booked in to un­dergo hematopoi­etic stem cell trans­plan­ta­tion (HSCT) at the Na­tional Pirogov Med­i­cal Sur­gi­cal Cen­tre in Moscow, on May 28.

HSCT would re­move and con­cen­trate her stem cells be­fore chemo­ther­apy would wipe her im­mune sys­tem. The stem cells would then be re­turned to her body.

In­clud­ing re­cov­ery, CameronHill would be in Rus­sia alone for more than five weeks. She needed to fin­ish rais­ing $80,000 be­fore the May dead­line.

The pro­ce­dure it­self cost about NZ$75,000. A close friend had gifted Cameron-Hill $40,000 to­wards the pro­ce­dure, which along with her own fundrais­ing ef­forts put her about $30,000 away from meet­ing her tar­get.

‘‘I’m up to $50,000 and I’ve got a paint­ing here my cousin do­nated, which is worth $5000, which I’ll try and sell,’’ Cameron-Hill said.

In July, lead­ing New Zealand neu­rol­o­gist Dr Deb­o­rah Ma­son said HSCT was ‘‘un­proven’’, came with risks and was un­likely to be tri­alled in New Zealand.

She said she would en­roll

‘‘I'm so over be­ing a spec­ta­tor in my life.’’

An­drea Cameron-Hill

pa­tients in tri­als and re­search if they oc­curred in New Zealand, but find­ing fund­ing for such tri­als could be dif­fi­cult.

Cameron-Hill said she was pos­i­tive about the pro­ce­dure’s out­come after meet­ing Royce Brewer ear­lier in the year. Brewer had lived with MS for about 20 years be­fore un­der­go­ing HSCT in Rus­sia in 2016. He re­turned to work as a land­scaper later that year.

‘‘I just know that it will work,’’ Cameron-Hill said.


Rolle­ston woman An­drea Cameron-Hill with her hus­band Paul and twin sons Lach­lan and Oliver.

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