Fundraiser for Cumbrian man with multiple sclerosis

Sheldon Morfoot
Image caption,Mr Morfoot believes the treatment gives him the best chance of halting the progress of his symptoms

By Mark McAlindon

BBC News

Friends of a man who spent thousands of pounds on potentially life-changing treatment for MS have been raising money to help him.

Sheldon Morfoot, 31, from west Cumbria, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year.

He spent £50,000 travelling to Mexico for treatments which should help halt the progress of his symptoms.

He initially borrowed the money and his friends have been helping him pay it back.

Mr Morfoot, from Thornhill, near Egremont, was told last August that he had developed the same condition which claimed the life of his mother in 2015.

He began to research potential treatments and travelled to a clinic in Mexico for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation late last year.

‘Glimmer of hope’

The procedure is designed to reset the immune system and stop it attacking the central nervous system using stem cells taken from the patient’s own bone marrow.

Mr Morfoot, who spent 28 days in Mexico, said the same treatment was only available under the NHS to patients who meet certain requirements. He said he wanted the treatment quickly.

“It stops the progression dead, but it won’t reverse symptoms,” he said, adding: “The quicker you go, with no disability, the better you’re going to be.”

Initially Mr Morfoot borrowed the money to get to Mexico, promising friends and family he would pay them back, including by selling his house in Thornhill which will soon go on the market.

But friends have also launched fundraising campaigns to help him.

Mr Morfoot's friends
Image caption,Mr Morfoot’s friends have raised thousands of pounds to help cover his treatment costs

Last week, some of them completed the Dave Goggins challenge in Egremont, running four miles every four hours for two days, contributing at least £5,000 to a total fundraising effort which now stands at £25,000.

“I have no words for what friends have done for me,” Mr Morfoot said. “The amount of support I’ve had is ridiculous, I cannot thank them enough.”

It will be a few months before Mr Morfoot, a Sellafield motor mechanic, will discover if the treatment has worked, but he remains optimistic.

“I’ve got that glimmer of hope, haven’t I?

“I’ve got MS, and I’ll always have MS, but if this is stopped for five years, 10 years, that’s a winner in my eyes,” he said.

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