Research Gala brings hope for people living with MS

The Lakeland Chapter of the MS Society hosted their inaugural Research Gala on Thursday in St. Paul with positive news on curing and perhaps one day preventing multiple sclerosis. Speaking at the event was survivor Fiona Fifield and Andrew Caprariello, Ph.D.

Fiona Fifield, author of Fiona’s Fight spoke on her journey living with MS and eventually through a stem cell transplant being cured and living symptom free. “I was told to go home and get my affairs in order,” Fiona spoke to the crowd on her terminal diagnosis after years of battling MS. A long haul truck driver prior to her diagnosis, Fiona says she was familiar with the disease having family members afflicted with it; mother, father and her sister. She recounts how an accident while driving truck lead to her diagnosis. Through the decades, Fiona would experience paralysis, and was even rendered quadriplegic on several occasions.

“A month and a half after I went home to, essentially die, I received a call that I was getting a stem cell transplant,” Fiona shared a slide show of her journey to Ottawa and chemotherapy treatments, as well as pictures of her life living with MS.

Since her transplant she has been living symptom free, “this treatment is available. It’s here, in Canada.” Fiona wants to spread her story and give a message of hope to those living with MS.

Andrew Caprariello, Ph.D. presented his findings from his Postdoctoral Research Fellowship with Dr. Peter Stys at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute of the University of Calgary. “We don’t know what causes MS,” Caprariello told the crowd that the research they are doing at he Hotchkiss Brain Institute is very promising that one day doctors will be able to connect how the disease originates and maybe even one day prevent the disease. Being able to diagnose sooner brings a greater advantage to the patient, explained Caprariello.

If you would like to learn more about the research presented at the gala, contact Brenda at the Lakeland Chapter of the MS Society 1‑587‑465‑0185.