In 1991, Dion Shaw was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Because he was in his early 20s at the time of his diagnosis, he really doesn’t know what an adult life is like without battling MS. Over the years, his health has declined, including ongoing vision problems associated with optic neuritis, and doctors now say a stem cell transplant is essential to his well-being and perhaps, survival. Dion will undergo an autologous stem cell transplant, meaning his own stem cells will be harvested, treated and returned to his body.
His life has been significantly affected by his illness, as he can no longer enjoy dancing or playing tennis, basketball, racquetball and softball—activities at which he used to excel. Dion can’t even mow his lawn or perform household chores without experiencing serious back issues.
Despite his health challenges, Dion has always remained positive about his future. Even after receiving his diagnosis, he was able to work full time and obtain his bachelor’s degree. Dion expects to finish his master’s degree in the fall of 2014, and he dreams teaching someday. He looks forward to resuming a normal life after receiving a transplant, and he would love to return to work and once again feel like a productive individual. He loves his teenage son very much, and more than anything, he wants to spend many more years watching him grow up. But right now, he needs your help.
Unfortunately, Dion’s hope for a new life comes at a very high price.
The average autologous stem cell transplant costs approximately $365,000. Even with health insurance, he still faces significant medical expenses related to the procedure. He will need a follow-up care, medications and chemotherapy to ensure that his body accepts the new stem cells. The stem cell procedure is still experimental (in clinical trials) at Northwestern University, Chicago. Using a novel approach, Dr. Richard Burt retrieves and filters the body’s own stem cells, eliminating the need for embryonic stem cells and anti-rejection drugs. Please see this video for more information about Northwestern’s treatment.
After suffering a couple falls at his job, he had to stop working in technology because of his declining health, adding to his financial strain. However, he continues to stay involved in the business world through his blog Homepreneurs.net, which is making positive strides for today’s workforce, as it encourages other entrepreneurial spirits like him to follow their dreams.
What if your life depended on the compassion and generosity of others?
The National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) is working with volunteers and supporters to help relieve Dion’s growing burden of expenses. NFT has been assisting transplant patients with fundraising support for 30 years. Your gift will enable NFT to provide Dion with the financial support he desperately needs.
- Send a tax-deductible donation via check or credit card. Please make your check payable to NFT Illinois Transplant Fund. Remember to write “in honor of Dion Shaw” on the memo line.
- Visit www.transplants.org to make a secure online donation. Click Find an NFT Patient to search for him.
If you have any questions about NFT, feel free to contact the staff at 800-489-3863.