In 2010 my daughter, Debbie, was diagnosed with a rare disease — Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP). The disease attacks the nerve endings, leaving her in terrible pain and prone to falling. Debbie currently receives 4-8 hour infusion treatments every week. Until recently there was no cure for this disease, but now there is hope. Debbie has been approved to receive a life-saving stem cell transplant in late June at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago (the only hospital in the U.S. that can treat this rare and debilitating disease).
The transplant involves the collection of Debbie’s own stem cells, followed by chemotherapy to wipe out her immune system. Following chemotherapy, Debbie’s harvested cells will be reintroduced into her body, resetting her immune system. The process takes at least two months, and Debbie will have to stay in Chicago during this time.