A MONTH-long fundraising challenge to pay for a Ross-shire woman’s stem cell therapy has been so successful that it could help other local multiple sclerosis sufferers receive the same treatment.
The family and friends of Emma Wood (57) from Dingwall had set themselves a target of walking, running and cycling 500 miles during the month of May to raise the £16,000 needed to pay for her treatment at the Swiss Medica clinic in Serbia.
The last day of May saw Emma, her daughter Jasmine Miller and son-in-law Gary complete the very last mile of the challenge by walking at Redcastle on Tuesday evening.
They also celebrated the fact that everyone involved had clocked up 1221 miles – more than twice the original 500-mile distance target – and raised nearly £1500 over their fundraising goal.
Emma’s treatment is now booked for July and all the excess funding will go towards paying for MS sufferers in the Highlands to also undergo stem cell therapy.
Emma, who has had MS since the late 1980s, and her daughter Jasmine are “blown away” by the tremendous response to their 500 Miles for Emma fundraiser.
“We have had a very exciting month,” said Jasmine.
“We have reached our fundraising target thanks to the amazing generosity of our friends and family, and lots of folk we don’t know – from as far away as Germany, Norway, Finland and Canada.
“This has allowed us to book mum in to receive the stem cell therapy in Serbia during July this year.
“We have also been delighted with how much everyone has engaged with our walk 500 miles campaign – we walked the last mile on Tuesday night along the shore at Redcastle, and this took us up to a grand total of 1221 miles – more than double our original target.”
Jasmine, a teacher from Conon Bridge, says they are extremely grateful for the very generous donations and for all the miles contributed.
“Mum and I have been blown away by everyone’s kindness and we will never be able to say thank you enough,” she said.
“Regardless of how well the treatment works this has been a very positive experience and we are really looking forward to making the trip in July. We would now like to help others and we plan to donate any excess funding to people in the Highlands and Islands who have MS and would like to go for stem cell therapy.”
The family came up with the idea of the 500-mile fundraiser because the thing Emma misses most is not being able to get out and about.
Emma, an author who wrote the popular local book The Hydro Boys, was diagnosed with MS just after she gave birth to Jasmine, and her daughter says she “so very much deserves” to undergo the 12-day course of treatment.
During therapy Emma will receive up to 300 million stem cells, replacing damaged ones. The clinic says this rejuvenates the body and causes disease symptoms to improve.
It is hoped the treatment will significantly improve Emma’s mobility and her main MS symptoms.