Russian MS treatment a success for Bega mum Beth Berk

Beth Berk is back home in Bega with her husband Paul and their children after undergoing successful treatment in Russia for multiple sclerosis.

Beth Berk is back home in Bega with her husband Paul and their children after undergoing successful treatment in Russia for multiple sclerosis.

Bega’s Beth Berk has beaten multiple sclerosis – and is thanking the entire community for its support and financial assistance.

Ms Berk returned home from Russia two months ago, but has kept herself isolated to stay away from potential infection and illness.

She is just now beginning  to venture out and is looking forward to seeing “all the faces of those who helped me to halt MS”.

In the meantime, she was written a lovely letter of thanks to the community and the many people who helped out in some way.

“And yes guys, we did it, we defeated multiple sclerosis!” she enthused. 

The treatment Ms Berk underwent involved harvesting her stem cells before chemotherapy killed off her immune system.

The stem cells are then reintroduced to create an immune system not intent on destroying its host.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is unavailable in Australia because Australian medical professionals have so far refused to perform it.

Therefore a trip to Russia was the family’s only option – but a costly one.

It was estimated the trip and treatment cost in the vicinity of $60,000, but with the Bega Valley’s help, they made it and Paul and their children can now look forward to many more years with their loved wife and mum.

“Now it is a matter of me focussing on getting back to optimum health and teaching myself to walk normally, talk normally, to think and remember as best I can,” Ms Berk said.

“I really would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for helping Paul and I to raise the money that helped me get to Russia and receive the treatment that has got me where I am today.” 

Ms Berk had plenty of people to thank – more than can be squeezed on to this page. However, her letter will be published in full on the BDN website, www.begadistrictnews.com.au.

Among those she credits for help through her tough journey are Wayne and Irene Trezise “for answering endless questions, they will continue”.

Ms Trezise of Wolumla has also undergone the HSCT treatment in Russia, again with plenty of community support.

“I am still recovering and aiming to be the best I can now be…I certainly owe all of you for the life I can now lead and all the possibility it holds.

“Thanks also to my husband Paul and our beautiful children, for never giving up on me and not letting me give up on myself or the dreams we have for our family.”

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Beth Berk’s letter of thanks

Hello everyone! If you’re reading this I have been home from Russia for just on two months.

The first few months are the most important with regards to staying away from infection, illness, general bugs and nasties.

I am starting to venture out and I will soon be able to see all the faces of those who helped me to “HALT MS”. 

And yes guys, we did it, we defeated Multiple Sclerosis!

I had my stem cells harvested and then chemotherapy to kill off my old immune system. The stem cells were then re-introduced to produce a new non-threatening immune system.

Now it is a matter of me focussing on getting back to optimum health and teaching myself to walk normally, talk normally, to think and remember as best I can.

I really would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for helping Paul and I to raise the money that helped me get to Russia and receive the treatment that has got me where I am today.

I’m going to get quite specific with regards to my thank you’s so…. Get a cuppa, sit somewhere comfortable and quiet, there are many of you to thank.

Thank you to my husband Paul and our beautiful children, for never giving up on me and not letting me give up on myself or the dreams we have for our family.

Thank you to Simon Owens, Glen and Tammy Edmunds, Brad Abraham and Dave Mitchell for organising the Inaugural Charity Golf Day. Thank you to all that staffed the Bega Country Club and club kitchen. Thanks to Sophie for helping me drive the golf cart, M.S. Beth couldn’t have handled it on her own. The weather certainly turned on a gorgeous sunny day for us all!

Thank you to Robyn Stewart for organising the Yoga of Sound Workshop. A beautiful, relaxing day for everyone. 

Thank you Chrissy Millo for being there throughout. Organising tin sheaths, posters, all of your fabulous fundraising ideas, and undertaking the Food for Health Fundraiser at Nethercote Markets.

Thanks to Karen Lott and the staff at Sprout, Eden, for your support and generous donations of tips. Tips that you guys certainly deserve. Thank you to Chevaux Hairdressing Salon for the same.

Thank you to Phil and Linda O’Neill and Mary Elliott for organising the Brogo Community Dance. And thanks to those who manned the BBQ and Kitchen. Thanks to Mic and Steve Martin, John and Mandy Jessop, and Adam Twyford otherwise known as Train Wreck for providing the music on the night. A fabulous night out for everyone!

Thank you to everyone who helped with the set-up of the clothing swap day, and to those who donated clothes thank you! Thanks to John Moffitt and Sue Chancellor for the donation of the (previously) Rockmans rooms on Carp street. I hope the people who attended came away with something pre-loved that fit right into their wardrobe.

Thank you to Anna Munro for your guidance and immense help with the clothing fundraiser. And always thank you for accompanying me to Russia, being there through those first jittery phases, and holding my hand when required.

Thank you to Julie Gear and Kirsty Umbers for organising the South Coast Anglican College Morning Tea and information day. Everyone loves morning tea.

Thank you to the Bega Valley Public School children and the P and C for undertaking fundraisers throughout the year. An amazing bunch of kids, parents and teachers.

Thank you to local businesses and any general public for donating the goods that were auctioned or used in any way for fundraising.

Thank you to those people and staff, most of whom were locals, who travelled home with Paul and I on our Sydney to Merimbula flight. My first full day back in Australia, hairless and all masked up, your kindness and help on the plane was truly special. I remember you all helping Paul to shield me from the sun beating through the window, and conversing with me like a ‘normal’ person.  I may have seemed groggy but I do remember.

Thank you to our local papers, Bega District News and Merimbula News, and local radio stations, 2EC and Power FM for your help promoting fundraisers throughout the year. And thank you for allowing me to get my thanks out to the wider community.

Thank you to the staff of Capital Pathology and Church Street Surgery for being so flexible with my care while I am in this immune compromised state.

Thank you Nettie. Being there with Paul and the kids while I couldn’t be was a huge weight off.

Thank you Emma, Kimone and Shirley for supplying surprise food packages while I was away and over the Christmas period.

Thank you to Wayne and Irene Trezise for answering endless questions, they will continue.

Thank you to all my workmates at Bega and Merimbula Radiology for your support pre-Russia and your continued support during recovery.

Thank you to the South Coast community in general, local clubs and businesses, for rallying around me. Your donations, offers of help and continuing support amazes me still. Thank you to anyone who attended a fundraiser or supported a fundraiser in anyway. It’s certainly amazing what small communities can do and I am testament to that. I am still recovering and aiming to be the best I can now be … I certainly owe all of you for the life I can now lead and all the possibility it holds.

Thank you

Sincerely

Beth x

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