£50,000 appeal to help Stratford man get MS treatment in Mexico
A STRATFORD man is aiming to raise £50,000 for what could be life-changing treatment.
James Monks, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in February, will travel to Mexico to receive stem cell therapy which wipes out the immune system through chemotherapy then rebuilds it via stem cell transplant.
As he is not eligible to receive the treatment on the NHS, James is raising money to fly to Mexico and live there for a month while undergoing the treatment.
Despite only launching his fundraising campaign last week/on Wednesday [April 26], he is already well on the way to hitting his target on crowdfunding site Go Fund Me.
James, 29, works as a clay modeller in the car industry and is passionate about wake boarding, which is similar to water skiing but with a board instead of skis.
His ordeal began in August last year, after a wake boarding accident left him with an injured back.
He said: “I didn’t think anything of it, as it wasn’t a big deal since I crash all the time.”
But over the following weeks and months he experienced escalating problems such as tingling toes, numbness in his feet and legs, difficulty walking and blurred vision in one eye.
Despite several tests and examinations by medics, including two MRI scans, the cause remained a mystery.
He was finally diagnosed with MS in February after another MRI scan revealed multiple lesions on his brain.
He said: “I have been through the mill in terms of my mental health.
“That’s been the hardest thing because I’m a very active, physical guy who loves sport and DIY and this has really hit me hard.”
He added: “But I don’t want anyone to blame wakeboarding, as my injury didn’t cause MS.
“Doctors have explained that MS was already dormant in my system and would have come out anyway. If anything, the accident helped get my diagnosis earlier.”
While researching the condition, James learned about the stem cell therapy and that triggered the idea to seek treatment.
James’ girlfriend Hazel Jenkins and best pal Alistair Taylor are leading the fundraising campaign, which includes a raffle.
And James appeared on GB News [April 29] to mark MS Awareness Week by sharing his story.
James, who lives in Clopton Road, is also struggling with troubles in his family.
He and Hazel help to care for his grandmother, who is in the advanced stages of dementia.
His father suffers from Parkinson's Disease, and his mother is battling breast cancer.
Although not flying out to Mexico until 25th July, James needs to raise the cash by 25th May.
He said: “This is testament to my amazing friends and family and all the good people who’ve rallied round to support me, especially Hazel – she’s my absolute rock.”
James Go Fund Me page can be found here.