Monday March 19th 2018

MS sufferer travelling to Costa Rica for treatment

Thirty-two-year-old Chad Gavin of Anglo was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year.

What started as blurry vision has led to Gavin holding himself up with a walker. He is regressing at a rapid pace and for that reason has chosen to fly to Costa Rica for liberation therapy.

Gavin’s aunt Paula Buote found out about the treatment that’s been in the news a great deal lately and has organized the procedure. She said Gavin has asked her to speak on his behalf.

“He is going downhill fast,” Buote said. “If there is any way to improve his life, then it will be worth it.”

Liberation therapy is a controversial procedure that clears blockage in veins, also known as chronis cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency. The treatment is not offered on P.E.I., or anywhere in Canada.

Premier Robert Ghiz recently attended a premiers meeting where the treatment was discussed. Saskatchewan was the only province to agree to a trial of the procedure.

Dr. Richard Wedge, executive director of medical affairs with Health P.E.I., said the province is promoting further research.

“I think P.E.I. is keen to see more research done in this area,” Wedge said. “We’re certainly supportive of it being done.”

The director of government relations and marketing communications for the Atlantic division of Canada’s MS Society, Jessesar MacNeil, said the MS Society is funding further research.

“We feel that more research has to be done and we support all research of the treatment,” said MacNeil. “We have funded studies that are going to happen over the next two years and we will receive updates every six months.”

Buote believes it is unfair to ask patients to wait.

“It’s so maddening that they can’t do this here,” said Buote. “People aren’t going to wait two years and I wouldn’t wait either. Chad’s already gone from a cane to a walker.”

MacNeil understands where patients and their families are coming from and said she supports any decision they make.

“We do hear about people going to have this done and it is a personal decision. Many feel they’re not as worried about the risks as they are the benefit,” said MacNeil. “We are going to do what we can to move it forward and what we can do is fund research.”

Gavin and his aunt will leave for Costa Rica on Aug. 31. They will be staying at a hotel with other patients undergoing the same surgery.

Buote said she has been conversing with other Canadians who have received the treatment in Costa Rica.

“There was a woman who was in a wheelchair and almost blind who just wanted to be able to dance again and she walked out of there. It’s pretty amazing,” Buote shared.

Gavin will undergo several tests during his first day at the hospital. From there, they will determine if he is a candidate for the treatment. Buote is confident Gavin will be. If approved, Gavin will undergo an hour-long surgery. He will then receive 10 days of rehabilitation at his hotel.

“It’s not an overnight relief,” Buote reasoned. “They stress that it is not a cure, it’s a good start.”

What are Buotes hopes?

“I’m hoping that (Chad) will be able to walk out of there.”

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One Comment for “MS sufferer travelling to Costa Rica for treatment”

  • Alvin D Sadler says:

    I have Primory Progressive MS.Have you had success with PPMS?The testimonials do not reveal the types of MS

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