Whanganui multiple sclerosis sufferer Briar Novis is just two months away from the trip she hopes will give her back her life.
She and her family will fly to Russia in October to undertake stem-cell treatment not available in New Zealand
Since being diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis four years ago, Novis has suffered a dramatic decline.
Over the past few months, the 43-year-old has lost the use of her legs and needs a walking frame to get around.
She is permanently fatigued and conventional treatments have not worked for her. Doctors say her condition is at the “severe end of the spectrum”.
After seeing a documentary about the radical autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (aHSCT), she decided it was her last hope.
The family have now booked and paid for flights and accommodation in Moscow and will head off on October 14.
And a remarkable fundraising effort has produced $71,000, representing tremendous support from the local community but also donations from overseas to a Givealittle page.
The cost of the treatment is around $76,000.
Briar will travel with her mother, Cherry Novis, and they will be met by hospital staff at the airport and taken straight to hospital.
The treatment — which takes five weeks in total — involves kick-starting the immune system using stem cells from bone marrow.
Efforts will continue to help the family cover the cost of the operation.
On Friday, September 7, Two and a Half Hypnotists — father, son and grandson combo Dave, Wesley and Nathan Upfold — will perform a fundraiser show at the Royal Wanganui Opera House. Tickets are $25, available from the venue.
Cherry Novis is also trying to organise an art auction to raise more funds.