CURING “THE GIRL ON FIRE” LEIGHA FROM MS
Leigha is a 30-year-old woman who in February 2014 was diagnosed with Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). RRMS is defined by inflammatory attacks on myelin (the layers of insulating membranes surrounding nerve fibers in the central nervous system, as well as the nerve fibers themselves. During these attacks, activated immune cells cause small, localized areas of damage which produce the symptoms of MS.
Growing up in Spokane, Leigha has always had a positive attitude and a special sparkle to her smile. She and her family own a local dog daycare and she enjoys training and showing dogs in addition to going out with friends and entertaining. Her disease has become more aggressive leaving her unable to work full time, or enjoy her favorite activities.
Since her diagnosis, Leigha has had more than six horrible MS relapses – all of which have attacked her arms and legs. The medications for MS have severe side effects and have not stopped her relapses or the progression of the disease. Leigha has poor coordination and bladder function; she is unable to stay focused due to short-term memory impairment and because her immune system is compromised, since last November she has suffered many bouts of colds and the flu.
In January 2015 her brother, DJ, learned of a clinical trial at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance which hopes to find a cure for MS. Leigha underwent evaluations in hopes of being accepted into the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant trial. Unfortunately, she did not meet all of the criteria to qualify for this program. We are now exploring other trials, both here and abroad, to see which ones hold the most promise so that we can halt the progression of her RRMS and reverse all of her symptoms before they become permanent.
Even with insurance, Leigha will have many uninsured transplant-related expenses such as: co-pays and deductibles, doctor visits, travel and temporary relocation to be near the transplant center for herself and a caregiver. This, in addition to the fact that post-transplant, Leigha will be unable to work for at least a year due to her compromised immune system, places an enormous financial burden on her entire family.
To help with this financial burden, a fundraising campaign in Leigha’s honor has been established with HelpHOPELive, a trusted nonprofit organization that has been providing community-based fundraising guidance to patients and their families for more than 30 years. All donations are tax-deductible, are held by HelpHOPELive in the Northwest Stem Cell Transplant Fund, and are administered by HelpHOPELive for transplant-related expenses only. Please consider making a donation today and click the DONATE NOW button.
I thank you in advance for your support during Leigha’s journey – together we can make a difference for her!
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Help Hope Live
Note in memo:
In honor of Leigha D. Smith
Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087