There was a time when Bishopton woman Suzy Bain thought nothing of pushing the limits of her physical capabilities to the extreme by rock climbing or burning up the miles on her mountain bike.

As an outdoors enthusiast, her fitness was paramount and it gave her a quality of life she loved.

But for Suzy, other unwanted challenges lay ahead which would require her to find exceptional mental strength

For in December last year, after a period of declining health, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Suzy told The Gazette: “I had been experiencing a few health issues previously but nothing to be concerned about.

“However, in the summer of 2017, I started having difficulty walking and it developed into a spiral of constant decline.

“In some respects, when the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis eventually came, it was almost a relief because the things that were happening to me now had a name.

The Gazette: Margaret Camelford and Lynne Smith used tasty treats to generate fundsMargaret Camelford and Lynne Smith used tasty treats to generate funds

“All sorts of things had been running through my mind – was I going to die?

“It was daunting as well because I was worried about the future and that pushed me into looking around for what I could do, rather than just sit back and accept it.”

Suzy spent many weeks searching for radical treatments that would put up an effective fight against the disease.

Through painstaking Google and Facebook searches, she eventually discovered a hospital in Russia with a proven track record on a specific treatment she hopes will beat the worst of the symptoms she has to endure.

She said: “The treatment I need is Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

“It’s treatment that harvests stem cells from the bloodstream and zaps them with chemotherapy.

“Then those stem cells are put back in to make a brand spanking new immune system, which will hopefully stop progression.”

But the treatment will come at no small cost – £40,000 in total – and Suzy realises that it’s only going to be possible with a substantial bank loan.

However, she has been heartened by the support and generosity of friends and loved ones – and is asking them to help fund £10,000 of the costs by organising fundraising events, the most recent of which was a coffee morning in Bishopton Community Centre on Saturday.

Suzy said: “I have done a lot of work researching this and have now made arrangement to fly to the A.A. Maximov Hospital in Moscow on October 7.

“Rather than making the journey alone, my mum Sandra will be coming with me on the flight, via London.

The Gazette: Billy and Tricia Elder supported the fundraising eventBilly and Tricia Elder supported the fundraising event

“I will be in isolation for seven to 10 days, so there’s no point in mum hanging on out there.

“She will come back to Scotland and return to Russia to come home with me when the treatment has finished.

“The main doctor there speaks good English and the nurses are learning.

“It’s a very big loan but the sooner it’s done, the better. I don’t want to have to wait any longer.

“It would have been £70,000 for the treatment in London but Moscow has been doing it longer and absolutely know what they’re doing.

“I don’t want to be the third or fourth person to undergo the treatment at a hospital where the staff are less experienced in the treatment.

“ I would prefer people who know what they are doing.”

Suzy is staying very positive about having the treatment and says it has been 85 to 95 per cent successful in halting the progress of MS in previous cases.

She said: “A lot of people who have had the treatment find that the symptoms improve and it heals the damage that’s been done.”

While she waits for treatment in Moscow, the former Glasgow office worker continues to live life as best she can and acknowledges the huge support given by her parents Donald and Sandra, also from Bishopton, who help her with household chores.

The Gazette: Victoria Halley, of Bishopton Brownies, with Clara Bain, Gabriella Joannides, Abigail Burrows and Issac BurrowsVictoria Halley, of Bishopton Brownies, with Clara Bain, Gabriella Joannides, Abigail Burrows and Issac Burrows

Suzy said: “My parents have been fantastic. Sometimes you don’t appreciate your parents until you really need them.”

She is also very grateful to the friends who have donated to her fundraising page, which this week had reached almost £7,000 of the £10,000 target.

Suzy said: “The generosity of people is overwhelming me.

“I know I have a mountain to climb but Everest was climbed and I will stop this disease from robbing me of even more of my life.”

Want to help?

You can support Suzy’s fundraising drive by making a donation online here

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