Vernon couple in Mexico for life-saving stem cell treatment of woman's myasthenia gravis

Fighting for Lara's life

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for a North Okanagan woman with a rare autoimmune disorder.

Lara-Rose Duong has been battling myasthenia gravis for 20 years and has been receiving stem cell treatment in Mexico after going into crisis over the holidays.

"After being failed by the Canadian medical system for two decades, my sister ... nearly passed away over the holiday season. Years of misinformation and lack of concrete medical answers lead to my sister’s body failing her," Nikki Duong wrote on the campaign page.

"Though no longer able-bodied, her sheer willpower to survive, research of her own path to survival and the power of love has led my sister to receive hematopoietic stem cell transplant treatment at Clinica Ruiz in Puebla, Mexico," he sister says.

Lara was rushed to the hospital at Christmastime and told she had "a 40% chance of death."

Her partner Adin Tetz drained his life savings to fund the stem cell treatment.

"Along with the brilliant staff at the clinic, Adin has not left her side and is her caretaker while she receives her treatment," says Nikki.

Chemotherapy is expected to follow, and the couple will be staying in Mexico for four to five months as she can't risk travelling with her immune system depleted by the treatments.

According to the Mayo Clinic, myasthenia gravis is characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue of the muscles. It is caused by a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles.

There is no cure, but treatment can help relieve symptoms, which include weakness of the arms or legs, double vision, drooping eyelids, and difficulties with speech, chewing, swallowing or breathing.

It is most common in women younger than 40 and in men older than 60.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign had raised $7,812.

More Vernon News