Sunday March 18th 2018

‘I’m not looking for a miracle’

She wants nothing more than to walk with her two young daughters, and Michelle Singbeil is hoping that undergoing a new treatment for Multiple Sclerosis will help her get closer to doing just that.

Singbeil, a St. Andrews resident, was diagnosed with MS 13 years ago, and the disease has since left her unable to walk. Now, Singbeil has new hope in the form of a process that will correct chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency – a problem with the flow of blood in veins draining the central nervous system – which is theorized to play a role in causing MS.

The process to fix the problem – dubbed the “liberation” procedure – has been the source of much debate in the medical community, and is not yet available in Manitoba, though the provincial government earmarked $500,000 earlier this month to study the procedure’s effectiveness further.

Though the wheels are now in motion, Singbeil simply can’t wait for the procedure to come to her, so she plans to go to it – she hopes to be heading to Albany, New York, sometime in early 2011 to see if she’s a candidate to undergo the procedure.

“There are so many positive stories out there, that it does give me a little hope,” said Singbeil. “Obviously I’m not looking for a miracle, I’m just looking for some relief of some kind. I just want to change my lifestyle a little bit – I want to be able to function a little better for my daughters and with my daughters.”

Singbeil says that she hopes that she and others who go to abroad to get the procedure done at their own expense will have enough positive results to remove the doubts in Canadian legislators’ minds about allowing the procedure.

“If we can show that this helps, maybe it will speed up the process to get it here,” she said.

To undergo the procedure will cost Singbeil $15,000, which is why her friends and family have now rallied around her, and held a fundraising Halloween costume social last Friday night at the Rivercrest Hotel in West St. Paul to try and raise cash to offset the cost of the procedure.

Barb Woods, one of the social’s main organizers, said that while Singbeil and her husband Jason would have paid for the procedure themselves, she and other friends wanted to come together to offer a break to the woman Woods describes as “an inspiration.”

“She’s just such a positive person – she never asks ‘why me’ – and she never lets it stop her from doing anything,” said Woods, who says that she and Singbeil have known each other for 19 years and consider each other “soul sisters.”

“She’s decided that now is the time to try it. She doesn’t have many more options, and she’s willing to try this to stop the progression of the disease, and we want to help her in any way we can,” she said. “We’re not expecting a cure for MS, but anything that would help her regain some circulation in her legs, or feeling in her legs. Anything at all.”

According to Woods, tickets for the event have been selling quickly, and Singbeil says she’s “absolutely humbled” by the level of support she’s been receiving.

“It’s just such an amazing feeling, I can’t even begin to…from family to friends of family to friends of friends, it’s just unreal,” said an almost speechless Singbeil of the support. “The list is just endless – you have no idea how many people are truly pulling for you and care for you, and it’s just amazing to feel that support. From the (silent auction) donations from businesses, from the Rivercrest Hotel…

“I don’t know how I’m ever going to thank anyone.”

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