Stacey Hurrell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2014, having noticed whilst running the London Marathon that her left foot didn’t seem to ‘pick up’, the distances she could run got shorter and she began stumbling and falling.
More than 100,000 people in the UK have MS, which is a condition of the central nervous system, causing symptoms such as numbness, stiffness, struggling to walk and even cognitive or visual difficulties.
After ten years of experiencing these minor episodes (including optic neuritis) since 2004, one of which was put down to “hopefully a virus”, Stacey was referred to a neurologist at Birmingham City Hospital.
He asked her: “What do you think you’ve got?” When she replied: “MS”, he confirmed that she was right. From then, the 34-year-old decided she wanted to get treatment and show her children the value of resilience – “to never give up and never give in”.
Before MS, Stacey was a keen marathon runner and later became a para-athlete in 2015 as a result of the disease.
She revealed that: “I was the no.1 ranked T36 athlete during 2015 and competed in the CPISRA world games, where I won three gold medals for Team England.”
“I was gutted when I realised I’d no longer be able to compete, especially as I wanted to run in the Rio 2016 Paralympics after being put on the British Athletics Talent ID programme.”
From charity marathon runner, to para-athlete, to finally being confined to a mobility scooter, all in the space of nine months, Stacey now needs assistance with every day activities such as bathing, dressing and even writing.
Stacey and her therapy dog, Belle, are soon hoping to volunteer at the local hospice to talk and drink tea with terminally ill patients.
Stacey began treatment on Lemtrada in 2016, however, this has had no positive effect. She believes her only option now is to invest in costly Hematopioetic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) in Mexico, which is why she is raising funds through JustGiving in the hope that people will donate to her cause. So far, she has raised 16% of her £50,000 target.
“HSCT is not an easy process, but hundreds of people are coming back from treatment centres in Mexico and Russia having beaten their disease. Most have had their disease halted, which is the biggest relief. With MS, you never know what’s going to happen next and when what you can do is constantly shifting, it can be very emotionally draining to keep picking yourself back up again.”
Stacey was first made aware of the treatment from a BBC panorama programme in 2016 and has since read up on everything the treatment involves: risks, side effects and people’s experiences.
The Disease Modifying Drugs (DMDs) Stacey has been given only slow the progression of MS, whilst BBC journalist, Caroline Wyatt, (who also has MS) says: “80% of people who undertook HSCT responded and 50% saw the progression of their MS halted”.
The prospect of undergoing HSCT has given Stacey “huge hope”, but she needs help in raising funds to pay for the treatment, as well as her carers, flights, accommodation and aftercare (which is not supported by the NHS).
To donate, share, or show Stacey support, click here.