A FORMER racing driver is appealing for help as he battles an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis, for which there is no current treatment in the UK.
Jon Bates, from Ashton, needs to raise £35,000 to fund pioneering medical care in Mexico to fight the condition which seriously reduces his mobility.
I am desperate to get the treatment because it will make a world of differenceJon Bates
The 43-year-old suffers from primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), which causes his symptoms to gradually worsen over time.
He said: “I am desperate to get the treatment because it will make a world of difference.
“I’m hoping this is going to help massively; I believe it is the cure.”
Mr Bates’s condition makes it difficult to transfer in and out of the car from his wheelchair, which he started using three and a half years ago when his mobility deteriorated.
While he is able to drive, Mr Bates is not able indulge in his true passion - high-speed motor racing.
He said: “I used to race on the circuit. I am only happy when I am racing, when I am doing 150 or 160 miles an hour.”
To help fund his treatment, which will involve two sessions of intense chemotherapy, Mr Bates has made the decision to sell his prized racing car, a red Mazda RX7.
He also plans to organise a dance evening and meal at a venue in Wigan in order to raise additional funds for his treatment.
The former DJ anticipates that it will take until at least April to raise the money to travel to Mexico, but he plans to start racing again if treatment is successful.
Since his diagnosis, Mr Bates has been supported by the 300-strong congregation at his church, Today’s Community Church (TCC).
He said: “The support received from church friends is overwhelming.”
Further support comes from family members, including three brothers, a sister, and his parents, who live in Southport, but who are unable to help him financially.
Before diagnosis, Mr Bates was a DJ at the old Wigan Casino venue and he has also worked at Lancashire County Council helping children with special needs.
Kind-hearted Mr Bates is already making plans to show care and support for others once he has been through the treatment.
He said: “It’s not just getting out of my wheelchair, but being able to help others.”
In Mexico, Mr Bates would undergo Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, where stem cells are collected, frozen and later thawed for an infusion process designed to ‘reset’ the immune system.
He said: “This treatment is going to relieve what the illness has done to me. I’m believing I’m going to walk again.”
To support Jon Bates, visit https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/jon-bates