Day 1 – The wait is over..

I’m here in Moscow eight years after being diagnosed with MS, finally about to be given the chance to get rid of it.

So Monday morning we got up bright and early, ready to hit Heathrow for around 6.45am. Had to get all the bag’s in, BBC Radio Surrey soon wanted a live chat around 7am before I left. Can’t say no, I’m such a media tart these days.

All went pretty smoothly, other than the flight missing it’s slot. And then perhaps on takeoff looking across at another passengers screen in time to see Eddie Redmayne slipping Bob and the twin back between his legs. …that guy never does any role by halves does he.

Arrived in Moscow and then the A.A. Maximov Hospital in good time. Immediately met by Anastasia and Dr Fedorenko, who spoke a little about what’s to come and then got settled in my room. Big hugs and smiles from them both, a lovely welcome indeed.

With enough time to point my video camera at the television and toilet, edit it up, eat a bit of stew and then to bed. (both video and radio interview below)

Then Day 1. Got woken up around 7am by a nurse wanting a swab of my mouth. Not at all the right time to go anywhere near that fly trap, perhaps all the reason to maybe? Then ‘Nose’, ‘what do you mean Nose?’. …I closed my eyes and just laid back down, knowing that probably that this won’t be the worst that’s going to happen to me this month. Then quickly after the next nurse with a couple of pots, I guess she wants me to perform a liquid sample for her, that doesn’t read too well, in privacy I must add. Just as I consider putting my head back down, another walks in with quite a few empty blood vials. Again just lay back, listening to several popping noises as each filled, shook and scrutinised in the light. I’m not sure what she was expecting to see? …Fish?

Then onto an action packed day of X-rays, MRI scanning and multiple ultrasounds. Enough to give the good Dr.F a complete roadmap, periodical table and dipstick test of this semi-functional lump of a body of mine. Far more than my Neurologist has ever done for me back home.

Pretty much on the final test I return to my room to find my Mum and wife Jen waiting for me. My entourage, giving me all the support, love, Coke and Pringle’s I could need. I tell them how I’ve been pulled, poked and pushed in the name of medical science and hoping that’s the last of it.

Anastasia then comes back to the room saying that there’s going to be a little party at 4pm and we should all come along. A little ceremony for those that have been through most of their treatment, having received their stem cell’s back. Something to celebrate their re-birth/new life, the worst is behind them and now for recovering what will hopefully be the most of what their MS has taken from them. Congratulations to Sandy and Berit! (From Washington, US and Norway respectively) I will post up their ceremony video up soon.

Then I was told that with all my tests completed, I didn’t have to stay in hospital that night and could enjoy a night away with Jen. We made the most of it with room service and a film. Chicken burgers and chips and we watched Morning Glory, for those that need the detail.

What a couple of days!!

The tour!

BBC Radio Surrey Bon Voyage Interview

Leatherhead Man is Media Darling

Hardly. But the local press have been fantastic, though I’m not sure of the title I seem to have been given. ‘Leatherhead Man’.

Since receiving my invitation to Russia they’ve all been so interested in my story, local man with multiple sclerosis, incurable illness, fundraising for pioneering treatment abroad and possible ‘cure’, added with the hope to start a family.

They’ve helped to raise so much awareness locally, but most effectively, writing quality stories as well as a BBC Radio interview for sharing. There was only so much I could do myself, but my wife, friends and family have been incredible, sharing everything, everywhere possible. The numbers of shares have been well into the hundreds, resulting in thousands of viewers. An incredible social media campaign I couldn’t have done alone. I sometimes felt embarrassed at the thought of my face dominating peoples social timelines.

But it worked. Maybe foolishly, I said yes to Russia, suggesting I had the funds available too. But who’d have thought I could have raised the full £45,000 in seven weeks, leaving two to spare before the trip.

The monetary value in people’s generosity has been overwhelming, but the effort from everyone pulling together has been the most humbling. I couldn’t be more grateful.

It began with the Epsom & Leatherhead Guardian.
Read the story here

The following week in the Leatherhead and Dorking Advertiser.
Read the story here

Shortly followed by BBC Radio Surrey.

And then finishing with a front page story on the Surrey Advertiser.

 

Back In The USSR.

…Pretty fitting really, …very loosely. A little return trip to my hometown of Liverpool, for a family hosted fundraiser which completes my appeal, officially sending me to Moscow!

THAT’S IT – THE RAISING IS DONE – I’M OFF TO MOSCOW, TO GET BETTER!!!

Amazing, I couldn’t be more grateful, couldn’t be more proud of everyone and I couldn’t be happier!

So on Friday we went up to Liverpool to see my family, who have been truly brilliant, wanting to get involved and to organise a fundraising evening of their own. Mixing it with a little bit of St Patrick’s night made for an incredible amount of fun, hosted by my cousin Brian. There was Cèilidh (Cay-lee) music, a bit of Rock from my cousin Nathan, a little karaoke, Irish bingo and a raffle.

Raising £2,135!!

Meeting many new faces, a bit of a catch up and a goodbye with family before my trip. Despite working till lunch, a 5 hour passenger ride, I broke through energy barrier to make sure I kept going till the end, and get around every table, …at least I hope I did.

Firstly I would like to thank Andrea, Brian, Gillian, Denis, Christine, Rebecca, Esther and absolutely my Aunty Terry for putting on an evening I will never forget. So much effort, made for so much fun. It meant so much to me – Thank you! xx

And to EVERYBODY! Those who have donated, given prizes, bought prizes, organised fundraisers, helped fundraisers, and to my wife Jen who has worked tirelessly to just keep things running smoothly. I am forever grateful, I owe you all so much. And just hope that all goes well in Moscow, to come back and show how I’m doing and hopeful recovery, to show you, with every unaided footstep, how much of a difference you’ve made to my life!

Less of the sitting around – I’m gonna rock the s**t out of tomorrow!!

Thank you xxxxxx

 

Comfort Zoning In & Out

A tale of two fellas this weekend. One doing what he says he’s good at, the other doing what he hates. Both with the idea that these are the criteria for some good fundraising.

Firstly we have my mate Sam Thompson, who today jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet. A man who hates flying, and the thought of jumping out of a plane, certainly wouldn’t be something Sam would choose to do. I’m in awe of Sam, the fact he would do that for me. A true mate. Raising some cracking funds too!

And then we have my good cousin Ian. A fella who admitted that the cardio stuff isn’t what he’s best at, instead choosing a sponsored SOMBFA (sitting on my big fat arse). A carefully selected Saturday, hogging the sofa, using social media to commentate on his day. You’ll be pleased to know that due to good planning, Ian took it at a steady pace, no injuries occurred and shall be returning to work on Monday.

Guys, you did this for me – big or small – it’s incredible and I’ll be forever grateful.

  

There for the baking!

You know, I have so many good people in my life! Family and friends who have set up their own events, something fun, something to put on sale to help raise money towards my treatment. It’s incredible to know that people really will give up such time, effort and expense to make a difference for me.

There have been cake sales raised by Mary & Neil Furnice, my old work colleagues at DNX specifically Dom Young, Tim Wall and some busy baking by Josefine Austin. Cakes made by Jan Forest and her mother Teresa which we gave as prizes and auctioned off on our fundraising evening.

Helen Carpenter who creatively raised money at her place of work through an Easter Egg raffle.

My sister in-law Susie Smyth organising an international food and raffle night for her work colleagues at Impact Research, aided marvellously by her husband Rob.

And of course there’s our Sam Thompson who will be jumping out of a plane this Sunday.

Amazing, amazing people! Thank you all so much, as I said I’m so lucky to have you all in my lives. Such unbelievable effort by all – for me. Thank you x

Stunned-raising!

Boom – cheesy heading!

Wow! Saturday night’s fundraising evening was incredible. Together Debbie Bowles and my wife Jen organised an evening I will never forget. One packed church hall, 3 course meal for 112 people. 1,500 raffle tickets sold (that’s a lot of folding), 12 auction prizes and too many raffle prizes to mention.

So many people donated the most incredible prizes to auction, their time, their property, their generosity. Equally the raffle prizes too. The cakes, Teresa & Jan made the most creative cakes I’ve ever seen (see photo), stunning! Thank you.

It was so humbling to share a room with so many people, all there to listen to my story, a show of strength, showing that there are so many good people in the world, willing to share what they have, in order to help me get to Russia, and kickstart my life, our lives, for Jen and I.

Naturally there’s a number that you hope to raise, but reaching nearly three times more – that blows my mind. Speechless. Saturday raised close to £15,000!!

A journo asked me the other day ‘what does the potential of this treatment mean to you?’, to which I replied – how do you put that into words? The potential to be released from this physical prison, to be granted so many of things you used to enjoy, a brighter future …hopefully with a family.

Similarly the difference everyone made on Saturday night, cannot be described. Almost guaranteeing a place in Moscow. There aren’t words.

Thank from the bottom of my heart to all that came, and equally to all those who have donated so far. Over the last four weeks since receiving my invitation, I’ve been constantly blown away by the messages and efforts from everybody. I’m an incredibly lucky man. Thank you. x

The Fall Guy

It’s been amazing what people will do to help with the fundraising. Step forward good friend – Sam Thomson!

What does a man who hates flying, hates heights, want to do to raise cash? Hurl himself out of a plane naturally. This man is risking his life for my future, YES – risking his life! (That’s written for his benefit) …though we all know that skydiving is far safer than crossing a road. 😉 …but still, what an amazing gesture! Who know’s he might even gain a new hobby?

What his wife Gemma didn’t know was that I advertised that if he raises over £5,000, she’ll jump too. ‘Evil genius b*****ds’, I believe she called us when she found out (Mwahaha!!). Okay £5k is probably a tall target, but you if it happens – everyone’s a winner. Gemma too I’d like to think.

It’s difficult to put a figure out how much he’s raised so far, around £1,000 I think? What an amazing friend this fella is.

Thanks Sam! and good luck with the jump.

Thank you!

Wow, it’s been an absolute whirlwind couple of weeks! I would never have imagined such support, from close family and friends, colleagues, past colleagues, friends of friends I’ve never met, to people who have simply donated because they read my story.

It has been so incredibly humbling and totally overwhelming. I’m now over a quarter of the way to the total amount needed and still going strong. I still have news stories to appear in the press, a BBC radio interview booked and more emails to media agencies to write. So keep you eyes and ears peeled. Thank you so much for all the social media shares so far, I can’t tell you how much this has helped. Really!!!

If your Facebook timeline is anything like mine, and has been vomited all over by pictures of me. I apologise. 😉

Also a massive thank you to Debbie Bowles and my wife Jen for organising an amazing fundraising evening for me. A three course meal, with 120 tickets selling out in a weekend. Incredible! And thank you to everyone who has organised so many fantastic prizes to raffle off and auction too. I’m actually quite gutted that I’m going to be unable to bid for some. …and it doesn’t stop there. Family in Liverpool have organised their own for me too. I’m looking forward to that trip, always so much fun.

Here’s to the next 7 weeks. …again thank you!

(the obligatory link)
http://www.gofundme.com/letsgetrid

I’m Alex – I hate Multiple Sclerosis

 

Hello I’m Alex Green, I live in Leatherhead, England and as the title suggests – I have Multiple Sclerosis – and hate how it’s ruining my life.

I’ve been planning to go and see Dr. Fedorenko in Moscow to receive pioneering HSCT stem cell treatment to combat/stop/cure this cruel condition. It will involve a sharp dose of chemotherapy to wipe out my immune system, which has been attacking my nervous system, stopping the nerves from functioning properly, causing me a whole host of physical problems. Then putting my own stem cells back in place to form a whole new immune system, one without the mindset to inflict unnecessary damage.

I used to play sports regularly, enjoy walks and general days out. Something largely taken away from me. I can’t run, now struggle to walk and a day out can often be more stress than it is fun. I believe that I’m a prime candidate for this treatment and I’m hopeful of making a good recovery. Hoping to walk properly and unaided again, lose the debilitating fatigue I suffer, and even kick a football again. That’s my dream. None of this is guaranteed, but possible.

Regularly check my blog to read the latest news and developments. I’ll be posting regular videos too. Beware I’ll be talking very frank. …but aim to entertain.

Follow me on Twitter – @PalmOffAlex
Subscribe on YouTube – The Palm Off

== The fundraising page  – www.gofundme.com/letsgetrid ==

donate

IT’S BEGUN

Expecting an email probably in the summer asking ‘how’s November for you?’, instead I got one from Russia on Monday asking ‘how’s April?’. That’s just nine weeks away!

Amazing, expecting another year of this Multiple Sclerosis condition of mine I’ve put up with for the last eight years. I’ve got weeks!

Crap, I’ve some serious fundraising to be doing! – What a fantastic problem to have. I have £45,000 to raise. That’s a lot of money – but it’s doable.

That was Monday. It’s now Saturday, this week so far has been AMAZING!! I can’t believe how lucky I am, I have so many fantastic friends & family, and have been truly humbled by their support. Even old work colleagues too have come up trumps.

This week has totally given me the belief this is going to happen. Nearly 20% raised online, one fundraising meal evening organised (80 tickets sold – sale began four hours ago), and will probably all be sold before this weekends out, I have a lot of family up in Liverpool – and they’re going to hold their own too (two events I might add), talk of a friend cycling 200 miles in a day and possibly another jumping out of a plane. Incredible!

I have been constantly gobsmacked this week, and massively humbled.

I’ve got so much organising and writing to do, though this week have spent every evening till late replying to so many fantastic messages and donations. Of course I’m not complaining, I’m just so pleased to have a fantastic wife in Jen to be able to rally around, make phone calls, organise auction prizes and selling meal tickets. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

So this is my first post of many. I hope to keep you posted with what’s happening, thought’s and how I’m getting on.

THANK YOU – to everyone who’s been so incredibly supportive so far, I certainly don’t feel alone in this. I’ve been buzzing all week – and we’ve only just begun!