A mum and her husband will be heading on a trip of a lifetime in July thanks to a fund-raising appeal.
But it won’t be all sunshine and sombreros for Zoe and Paul Derrick when they head to Mexico on July 18 as they are likely to spend most of the 30-day stay in hospital.
Zoe, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago, started a £35,000 fund-raising campaign earlier this year to pay for a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) which could stop her condition for worsening.
The couple are leaving their two sons, 14-year-old Haydon and Freddie, four, at home so that the Billinge 36-year-old can undergo the pioneering treatment which isn’t available on the NHS could rid of her symptoms such as fatigue and prevent her losing the ability to walk.
Originally, Zoe thought it would take a few years before she was granted a place on a treatment programme in Moscow, but was able to put her name down on a cancellation list to have HSCT in Mexico sooner than she expected.
She said: “I have been accepted on the cancellation date for Mexico for July 18. That’s just three weeks away. I can’t believe it. I am so excited.
“I would have been waiting two years for Russia and I had a relapse a few weeks ago and a few of the effects have stayed with me. We knew it could happen and it has happened and it has left me with a few new things.
“We just thought ‘what are we doing?’ This is time we could be spending with the boys and we were just being silly really.
“There isn’t that much I can do alone. I drive to and from work three times and week but I don’t go to the shops or out for coffee alone. I don’t take the boys out on my own because I don’t know if I will be able to drive home again.”
HSCT is only available on the NHS in a trial that Zoe doesn’t qualify for, meaning her only option is to go abroad for the treatment.
She will have her stem cells removed before undergoing chemotherapy to wipe out her immune system. Her stem cells will then be put back in without the MS.
Every time Zoe relapses, it could leave her with more and more life-changing symptoms which the treatment may be unable to reverse.
She has been holding weekly car boot sales to raise the remaining £3,500 needed to pay for the treatment and the trip while 15 friends and family, will also be taking on the longest zip wire in England in July. Zoe and Haydon were also planning to take on the challenge at Zip World in Wales but Zoe will now be away they plan to complete it when they return.
Zoe and Paul have taken out a loan to cover the amount they haven’t quite raised but are continuing to fundraise to pay the loan off. To donate, visit gofundme.com/HSCTforZoe.