My name is Lisa, and I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in October of 2002 after evaluation at
the Cleveland Clinic. My symptoms at that time involved leg numbness, hand numbness and pain, and
blurry vision (optic neuritis). I had been on the approved medication injections to help keep my MS
stabilized, but I had a series of relapses (two or more for more than two years) that have affected my
walking. While there is no cure for MS, there is mounting evidence that my disease could be put into
remission by receiving a stem cell transplant to reset my immune system. Thankfully, the doctors at
Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL evaluated me and determined that I was an excellent
candidate, and in November 2010 I was able to have the stem cell transplant.
The transplant is a FDA/NIH approved phase III clinical trial with a 10 year history. Like anything with
healthcare our insurance company had set up a myriad of barriers. There are a number of insurance
companies that will actually pay for this procedure and actually understand the cost effectiveness.
While the costs (approximately $150,000) presented a challenge, my family and friends started a
fundraising campaign that helped cover the uninsured costs of the procedure. For more information on
me, multiple sclerosis, come take a “walk” with me through my website.