Stitt and wife Barbara will leave for China
next month. US2708-112A0
MOTOR Neurone Disease sufferer Alan Stitt is
preparing to fly to China next month to start controversial stem
He has been told a Beijing hospital, is one
of the few places in the world which offers the treatment, and
is due to begin his treatment on September 11. Alan, from
Ashcroft Way, Ballinderry will travel with his wife Barbara and
mother Rita hoping for a miracle that will slow down the affects
of the fatal condition he contracted some months ago, and give
him a better quality of life.
The overall cost of his stay will be around
£19,000 and family and friends have already held a number of
fundraising events to pay for the journey.
Alan is expected to leave on September 9 and
after a 14 hour flight will arrive at Qingdao, an hour's flight
from Beijing. After one night stay at the Yi Qing International
Hotel he will be assessed and start treatment at the Chengyan
People's Hospital. There he will get five stem cell treatments
that include a lumbar puncture. After each course the patient
must lie still for up to eight hours either on his back, his
side or in a curled up position. Each treatment lasts 30 minutes
followed by physiotherapy.
Afterwards the family will fly back on
October 11 to allow Alan to recover.
Alan's uncle Alex Agnew, who has organised
the trip, said the family were hopeful the stem cell treatment
will at least offer a better quality of life.
"It would appear at this moment that because
there is no known cure or cause, this is his best option" said
"There are 6,000 people who have had this
treatment at this hospital with a 86 per cent success rate.
There is also the possibility you can go back
in six months time at a reduced rate if it you think you need
another course of treatment."
Alan says himself that there is no other
option. He has spoken to another man who is in a wheelchair and
had the stem cell treatment and he told him it has helped
improve the strength of his legs."
Alan, who was told he would be in a
wheelchair within three months, is currently on a herbal remedy
that he got via the inter-net and which the family believe has
helped him tremendously. "Alan has had a good positive attitude
throughout which is helpful to both him and his family,' said
Alex. "At the moment he is doing well. He is mobile but finds it
hard to walk down stairs. He injured a shoulder and broke a bone
in his hand after a fall so he is naturally wary of falling."
Recently Alan, a former amateur footballer for Ballymacash, got
to go on the trip of a lifetime when Alex organised a visit to
see his favourite team Liverpool play.
Family and friends have organised a number of
fundraising events to help raise money towards the stem cell
On Saturday August 23 at Lower
Ballinderry Road there is a ten mile tractor run
organised by Michael Timmons and Alan Ross. For more
details ring 92651079.
A supper dance will be held on
September 5 at Randalstown Bowling Club from 8pm. Music
by Kentucky Country.
Then on September 6, Bluebell
Football Club, Ballymacash are holding a Day at the
Races from 5pm to 7.30pm. There will also be a 'Stars in
your Eyes' competition at 8pm. Entry free. All
contestants must dress as the 'Star' they will be
Details from 92-677824.