Don set to take on MS battle in Russia

Don Calder has been fundraising any way he can to help pay for experimental Multiple Sclerosis treatment in Russia after living for 15 years with the disease. Don made a deal with his employer WDEA Works that he would shave his head in the style of Mr T if the company could raise $10,000 or more. WDEA works employee Chris Jolly, fundraiser Ryland Bell, Don and his daughter Kenzie admire his new hair cut.

After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) 15 years ago, Maryborough’s Don Calder is taking a leap of faith on experimental stem cell treatment in Russia to “reboot” his immune system.

Flying out to Moscow this coming Monday for what he hopes is the “first day of the rest of his life disease free”, Don said he is feeling positive and ready to fight.

“I’ve had MS for almost 15 years, it’ll be my anniversary this year and I was diagnosed with a stroke half a year before that,” he said

“I had five years of medication that was up and down. I still had the occasional episode so I went onto another medication that kept me stable for a while, probably eight years, and I’ve gone onto another medication as of Easter last year.

“It’s good for the moment but it is just a patch job. I don’t want to be patched up any more, I need to go overseas and get the treatment done.”

MS is a chronic condition where the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the outer material of its nerve cells, leaving them scarred and unable to properly receive messages from the brain.

Don hopes that Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (AHSCT) at Moscow Hospital will put a long-awaited end to his battle with MS.

“They (Moscow Hospital’s AHSCT program) have a 75-85 percent success rate, they literally give you a birthday cake post-treatment to say ‘happy birthday — welcome to the first day of the rest of your life’ and I can’t wait for that feeling,” he said.

Although Don flies out on April 1, he is still fundraising to make sure his goal is reached to cover all necessary expenses and is hosting Disco Bingo tonight at the Mary- borough Highland Society.

The Don vs MS Disco Bingo fundraiser starts at 8 pm and tickets are $30 to be purchased at the Highland Society. For more information call 0427 345 234.

For more on this story see Page 10 of The Advertiser, Friday, March 29

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