Niamh Redmond was just 24 when she was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, a disease which has unfortunately been highly active and which has resulted in her condition deteriorating to the point that the young woman has to use either a walking stick or wheelchair to get around.
Since her diagnosis four years ago, Niamh has been treated with three different Disease Modifying Treatments (DMTs), but to no effect.
Now, Niamh’s best chance of treatment is via a Stem Cell Transplant. It is the only way to prevent her condition from worsening further.
But there is no such treatment available in Ireland.
The Wexford woman will have to travel to London to be treated, and while the NHS is covering the cost of the treatment itself, accommodation, regular travel back and forth and the need for a wig due to the chemotherapy involved, means that the costs are adding up, leaving the young woman struggling to understand how she will cope.
Niamh has set up a GoFundMe account to help deal with the costs her disease and treatment has incurred, although she says that to do so was a struggle as she is a proud and independent person—but acknowledged that “sometimes you just have to ask for the help”.
Niamh sets out her story in a post written under the fundraiser.
“So the story that got me to the point of needing a Stem Cell Transplant started in Dec 2014. I had persistent pains and needles in my right leg. I went to my GP who, after bloods tests, treated me for a vitamin B12 deficiency. That cleared up the pins and needles for a few weeks but by March they had returned at which point my GP suggested I go for a private MRI scan so off I went. At the time I was so naive and though it was just a trapped nerve in my leg. A week later I went to my GP for the results and it was then I was introduced to the world of MS.”
“Unfortunately however by Feb 2016 I had to start using a walking stick as my right leg was getting increasingly weak and foot drop was creeping in.”
By 2017, “my walking became so bad that I had to get a wheelchair as I could not stay on my feet for any longer than 15mins without my legs turning to jelly and being totally exhausted.”
Niamh opted to have risky Lemtrada treatment, a 5-day long treatment via IV which comes with serious side effects, but which she decided was worth it to stop the progression of her disease. After braving the treatment, she hoped that she could go back to normal life, but instead received more bad news—she had not responded to the treatment, and it was decided that a Stem Cell Transplant was her best option.
Now Niamh is waiting for her first appointment, set for September 10th, and her family is rallying around her, spreading the word of her fundraiser and offering their support.
If you would like to help Niamh with the costs of treatment and recovery, you can do so here.
We wish her the very best of luck with her treatment.