An Eccles resident has conceded he may have to sell his home in order fund a surgery that could cost up to £40,000.
39-year-old Lee Barber has lived with multiple sclerosis for 17 years but was only diagnosed with the disease in 2014.
The condition imposes many constraints on Lee’s daily life, who relies on crutches to walk and is often fatigued after doing simple exercises.
Lee said: “Back in the day, I used to be up at five, in the gym but now I get tired by doing the most basic thing.
“It might be having a shower or making a cup of tea, that’s the extent of MS. I don’t want to live with this anymore.”
Lee is hoping to be cured by a form of stem cell treatment, HSCT, which could help him walk without the aid of crutches and cure his energy lapses.
The IT editor is hoping to raise £40,000 for a life changing surgery in Mexico, which will entail him to live a normal life.
The surgery is possible in the UK too, however a Sheffield hospital has written to Lee saying they won’t give him the treatment as it’s simply too dangerous.
Lee said: “The NHS are saying they won’t give me the treatment, my only option is to go abroad and pay for it myself.
“If just one person can donate, then every little will help, I’m becoming desperate, it’s eating away at me.”
As well as hoping to raise the money for his surgery, Lee hopes to educate people on MS and wants people to realise they have the condition quicker than he did.
He said: “I got my first symptom in 2002, it was just little tingles in my leg. I didn’t think much of it, I was a student, things were different, I put it to the back of my mind and got on with life.
“Even after I left uni, I just got on with it. I walked into employment and continued to get symptoms, I had a lapse in my eye, the fatigue was getting worse but still, I just ignored it.”
It wasn’t until the symptoms became much worse in 2014 that Lee decided to go to see a doctor, largely through the efforts of his now-fiancee Louise.
He said: “The diagnosis of MS was significant, I’d been putting it off but Louise persuaded me to see a doctor.
“MS doesn’t only effect me, it effects the people around me.
“I often get frustrated quickly and take it out on her, I owe it to her to get through this.”
Lee speaks highly of Louise, who he met in Newcastle after university and says his goal is to have his surgery so that he is able to walk down the aisle without using his crutche.
But he admits his relationship has suffered since being diagnosed.
He said: “My mental health has been damaged since the diagnosis and it really damages my relationship with Louise. I hope we are still together in the near future.
“My dream is to marry her after this surgery, I want to walk down the aisle without aid.
“I want this surgery, I have to do this.
“I’m willing to do anything to have this surgery and just get my life back to how it used to be.”
So far, Lee has raised just under £3,000 but is still a long, long way away from his target. You can help support his cause here.
Image Credit: Lee Barber and Gaurav Chaddah