After months of campaigning to raise the vital funds, Hartlepool dad Eric Thomson is all set for his life-changing operation.
When 50-year-old Eric was given the devastating diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS four years ago his future looked bleak.
He was told there was no treatment in this country for his condition and was forced to watch his whole life change as symptoms progressed.
But after hearing of the possibility of pioneering stem cell treatment abroad, friends and family– including his wife Joanne and her friend Angela Crowe – rallied round and raised more than £21,700 and took out a loan to send him to Mexico.
Now Eric and his wife Joanne are preparing to travel to the Riaz Clinic on June 19 for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantations (HSCT) costing more than £38,000 which offers the possibility of slowing – if not stopping – the progression of his MS, and improve mobility.
The treatment will last four weeks and see Eric undergo various tests to ensure he is fit enough for the procedure before receiving the stem cell transplant and chemotherapy lasting two weeks. He will then need a two-week recovery period before flying home to the UK on July 16.
Speaking to the Mail just weeks before his journey of a lifetime, Eric said: “I am very pleased I will be getting the operation, although I am a bit nervous about it.
“On June 19, I will fly from Newcastle to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to Mexico and then my treatment begins on June 20. I will be there four weeks undergoing chemo and the stem cell transplant.
“I could feel the benefits within an hour after treatment or it could be two years after before I feel the difference.
“I am looking forward to it as I would love to do certain things, like taking the dog out for a walk, or playing a game of golf with my son, so it will be a massive deal for me.
“When Joanne and Angela were saying they were going to fundraise, I thought it would be impossible. So what they have done is fantastic.
“Joanne just wants her husband back and I would like to come back and say to people, ‘if you have been told you have PPMS don’t say ‘what now?’ just go for it.”
To help pay off the loan, visit: www.gofundme.com/HSCTforEricT