It’s been an emotional journey for Hartlepool dad Eric Thomson, but now the time has finally come for the operation which could change his life.
Eric, 50, is set to receive pioneering MS stem cell surgery at the Riaz Clinic in Mexico after flying out from Newcastle Airport with wife Joanne on Sunday.
After undergoing tests at the clinic on Monday, Eric, from Jowitt Road, received his results yesterday, and was due to begin the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantations (HSCT) today.
Diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS four years ago, it’s been a long time coming for Eric, whose family and friends launched a fundraising campaign for his treatment- costing around £35,000- almost a year ago.
Before flying off Eric remained positive about his operation, which offers the possibility of slowing – if not stopping – the progression of his MS, and improving his mobility.
“I can’t wait to get back even a little bit of what I have lost the last few years,” he said.
“My MS had got to the point of being housebound for a year, but it still won’t beat me.
“I have always been a glass-half-full kind of person.”
When Eric was given the devastating diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS four years ago, he was told there was no treatment in this country and was forced to watch his whole life change as symptoms progressed.
But he was offered hope when the clinic, which is one of only a few in the world offering the treatment, put him on the waiting list for the operation.
Now when Eric, a former Camerons Brewery worker, comes home on July 17, he hopes the treatment will successful and act as a beacon of hope to others with his condition.
The dad of five said: “I have been overwhelmed with the support I have received and continue to receive, from family and friends, to local business.
“A big ‘thank you’ to the Hartlepool Mail, who have followed and will continue to follow my story. “Even though what I have is a rare form of aggressive MS, I am sure I will be coming home on July 17 fitter and stronger and maybe even walking again. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
“After treatment I hope I can start shouting from the rooftops; ‘come on UK come on NHS, come on National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, let’s join the world let’s give the MS sufferers a chance, let’s give them HSCT.’”
To donate to Eric’s cause please visit his fundraising page HERE.