Fundraisers are on a race against time to help change a Hartlepool dad’s life through pioneering treatment for an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis
Dad of five Eric Thomson was given the devastating diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS – a form of MS that has no treatment in this country.
He was given hope that he could undergo treatment at the Riaz clinic in Mexico in 2018, but that has now been brought forward to next year.
In August his family set up a Go Fund Me page in an effort to raise over £30,000 to send Eric abroad to undergo pioneering stem cell treatment.
So far the page set up by family friend Angela Crowe has raised £6,642 through orgnaised events and generous donations in an effort to raise the funds by 2018 – the original date for the surgery.
But now the family have been told by the Riaz clinic in Mexico that Eric could undergo treatment next year if they are able to raise the necessary funds in time.
“I got an email saying that it could be brought forward from 2018 to 2016 although they haven’t got a month yet,” Eric said.
“The downside of it is my wife needs to raise the money in time or we will have to go back on the waiting list.
“I think this applies to everybody and a lot of people have to cancel their surgery as they haven’t got that kind of money. But I am pleased with how things are going, it’s been brilliant.”
The former Camerons Brewery worker of Jowitt Road, was just 44 when he was diagnosed in July 2011 and now aged 49 he has seen his whole life change as symptoms progress.
A keen football player and coach for Pools Youth Team, Mr Thomson even played at Wembley in a team made up of Camerons staff 2010.
But the once-active family man had to give up the hobbies he loved as the illness took its hold.
This may be Eric’s last hope of recovery.
The treatment will last four to six weeks and see Eric undergo 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.
The family are hoping the transplant will slow or stop the progression of his condition through the hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) which involves the infusion of stem cells collected from bone marrow, blood, or umbilical cord blood, to re-establish haematopoietic function in patients whose bone marrow or immune system is damaged or defective.
On October 30, a Halloween party was held at the Cosmopolitan which raised £562 and Hartlepool taxi firm Navigation Taxis donated £500 to Eric’s cause.
A fun run organised by his brother Gary Thomson was also held on October 31 which saw around 50 joggers and walkers take part in the mile-long route along the front.
The event is believed to have raised over £500 towards Eric’s funding so far.
The next event will be a Christmas fair on November 21 from 11am to 3pm at the old Boys Rugby Club.
For information on charity events visit: HSCT fundraising for Eric Thompson on Facebook. To donate, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/HSCTforEricT