A MOTHER of two young children from Leicester has joined over 800 people who have travelled to Moscow for cutting edge MS treatment.
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) is an experimental treatment available in only a few locations across the globe including the Pirogov Centre in Moscow. Boasting a 75 per cent to 95 per cent efficacy rate, the Russian clinic has been performing the operation for 10 years.
Thirty-eight-year old Kezia Kecibas knew little about the disease which affects over 100,000 people in the UK alone, so when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2007 she wasn’t fully aware of how badly the disease could get. Her first reaction upon being diagnosed was “do I get a bus card.”
Adamant she would stay positive, Kezia refused to google the symptoms. Working as a holistic therapist she knew how to keep calm and felt she had to stay strong for her the sake of her patients. Being aware of her surroundings at work helped her to hide her condition for years.
Kezia went through many unfulfilling treatments but it was when attending an AIMS meeting she first learned of HSCT.
“I met a woman named Becky who had been in a wheelchair due to her MS, she’d gone for HSCT and was now running across the stage.”
After witnessing what seemed like a miracle Kezia asked her doctor about the treatment but was told she would not be eligible on the NHS and would soon lose her ability to walk. This hard truth motivated Kezia to get the treatment no matter the cost and after researching her options she decided Russia was her best bet.
The procedure wasn’t cheap and in order to get the treatment Kezia set up a JustGiving page. To her amazement the first people to donate were old classmates from high school. After just six months Kezia had raised over £40,000 and embarked on her life changing trip for Russia on July 6.
During the treatment stem cells were extracted from Kezia’s bloodstream and treated to remove all traces of MS. She was then given chemotherapy to destroy her immune system before the stem cells were reintroduced, aiming to leave her system without the disease.
Kezia is now back home in Leicester although she must stay in isolation until October 31. Her recovery is going well and her physiotherapist seems confident that she will be running by next year
Her advice for anyone with MS is to stay positive and to not be afraid to research HSCT. As Kezia puts it, “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”