HAYDEN, Idaho — For 23 years, Bates, 53, of Hayden, has lived with multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and causes vision loss, pain, fatigue and impaired coordination.
Robin Bates in some ways is fighting to buy his future, and he’s just over halfway there.
“Coming up with the rest of the money is a big deal now that I have been approved,” Bates said.
The treatment is expensive, and in order to go he has to save $50,000, to be paid in advance, two months before he checks in on April 3, 2023.
In the months since he applied for the procedure, Bates has already saved $25,310 on a GoFundMe page, leaving him three more months to earn the balance.
"Having this transplant will change my life and only with the community’s help can we make this happen," Bates said on his GoFundMe page.
Beyond the GoFundMe page, he also has support from the community.
“A dear friend of mine is raffling off an original piece of art for $250, as well as a signed print for $25,” Bates said.
Teagan Roehrig donated her painting called Zulu Queen, so Bates could raise money for his procedure.
“We are hoping to create miracles from this,” said Teagan’s mother, Gillian Roehrig.
The treatment, a hematopoietic stem-cell transplant, is a stem-cell infusion to jump start blood-cell production in people whose bone marrow or immune systems are damaged.
Versions of the therapy have been recommended by the National MS Society for people who have aggressive, relapsing MS and who have not benefited from disease-modifying therapies.
It can reduce and possibly eliminate disease activity in some cases, according to the National MS Society website.
MS is a disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information through the body, causing squeezing sensations, pain or numbness, among other symptoms. The body struggles with control as insulation around the body’s “wiring” erodes, allowing electrical currents to travel undirected.
Bates’ MS is advanced. He’s losing control of his hands and struggles with mobility, and he fears he’ll have to go into a nursing home.
The procedure in April will hopefully stop the progress of his MS, and offers hope for reducing the effects, if he’s able to earn the remaining $24,000 by February.
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