Angela van de Ven-Balmer (59) has had multiple sclerosis (MS) for 23 years. Finally there are options to be treated effectively. But for that she has to go to Mexico. Crowdfunding can provide a financial solution to travel to North America for help.
Angela has agreed to meet in Kempenhof’s restaurant. There she lives temporarily, due to a fall in her son’s house, in which she breaks the foot of her good leg. After a week and a half in hospital, she is now convalescing at Kempenhof. Her husband Theo gets coffee from the bar while one after the other trickles in and finds a seat at a table. Meanwhile, a cheerful Angela talks about the disease MS that has gripped her.
“I was an avid table tennis player and participated in a tournament in Veldhoven. The light is always bad there, and I said to my buddy: there is something wrong with my eye. There is a blur every time and I see strange colors.” After a visit to the optician and the general practitioner, the Valkenswaardse comes to the ophthalmologist, who diagnoses a nerve infection, which nine times out of ten is a sign that you have MS. “Then to the neurologist. He took spinal fluid and then it turned out to be MS. An MRI showed a large amount of white spots, so it was clearly MS.” It is then the year 2000.
Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
The fifteen years that followed passed almost without problems. The eyes are a bit worse, but glasses offer a little solace. “In the beginning I thought: that doctor is wrong. But gradually it went less and less. I noticed this especially about seven years ago, when I went cycling to Leende with our grandson. My legs didn’t want anymore. Then I thought: shit, and I thought k..” Then it turns out to be a secondary progressive form of MS, which means that the health will continue to deteriorate. Theo: “It is a nervous disease. Nerves run through a pipe, and that pipe ignites. This pinches the nerve. Often the weather heals a little, but never completely. And if an infection occurs again in the same place, you will get jittery and you will no longer be able to move your hands or legs at all.”
Meanwhile, two years ago, the couple decided to give up their own business and move to Fuengirola in Spain, to have a few more happy years there. “We are comfortable there, not in the sun and we live frugally.” The treating doctor in Sittard is visited regularly, but there comes a time when he says there is nothing left to do. “There are medicines to reduce the complaints, but none of them helped anything,” says Angela, who continues to hope for an adequate medication. She is now taking the drug Fampyra. Not especially for MS patients, but it somehow improves walking. The 270 euros per month for this medicine are now reimbursed by the health insurer. “It has deteriorated very quickly in the last three months,” says Theo.
No donor needed
Then the daughter of Theo and Angela sends an app about treatment methods in Moscow and Mexico, with a special stem cell treatment. It could possibly be used for her mother’s specific form of MS. The method appears to be medically unproven in our country, but almost one hundred percent of the stories the Van de Ven hear about the method are very positive. Hoping to write off the rollator, wheelchair and scooter or at least to remain mobile for the rest of her life, Angela immediately contacts Mexico, encouraged by the children. With the Mexican method, Theo explains, no stem cell donor is needed, but own cells are removed and then reinserted. Angela is not the first Valkenswaard resident to go to Moscow or Mexico and receive successful treatment.
Soon intake forms are sent from the Mexican hospital JSCT Clinica Ruiz and the price tag is announced: 55,000 US dollars. “Well Evi, we can forget about that”, Angela exclaims to her daughter. But the children set up a benefit evening in Dommelen and start a crowdfunding campaign. “Hats off to our children, because we are already halfway.” The couple is already familiar with the agreements and conditions that apply to Mexico. This way Theo knows that he is obliged to come along as an informal caregiver and is not allowed to leave the hospital grounds. “It takes twenty-eight days and we have already read several blogs so we know quite well how things are going,” says Angela, who is confident that the fundraising will be successful. “We hope to enjoy it for years to come. We are easily satisfied”, it sounds. Theo: “If you are healthy, you think everything is normal. But when you’re sick, you appreciate the smallest things.”
If you are willing to make a financial contribution, every euro is one, you can do so via THIS LINK. The position is currently 22,095 euros. A poster in Kempenhof also contains a QR code, which makes it even easier to donate.
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