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This fundraiser ended on 10/03/11

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This is the Anngela Lovelace stem cell treatment fund. Anngela will travel to Panama in October to go to the Stem Cell Institute.

I first met Anngela in my early twenties when she started working at the same company. She was a woman after my own heart, smart, sexy, strong and confident with goals. She was attending college to get her degree in Accounting and raising a 7 year old son on her own. But what impressed me the most about Anngela was that she was always independent, outgoing and accepting of everyone. She headed a single’s organization for several years, where she would plan all kinds of outings and events for local area singles to get out and meet one another. She was always on the go, organizing, planning, and selling (yes for a time she had her own part time business). I learned that she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 8 and had to take daily injections. This just made her stronger to me. I learned about blood sugar levels, insulin, pumps, feeling faint or blacking out and what eating the right and wrong foods at the wrong time means to a diabetic. I remember when she received her degree, started working as an Accountant and got re-married. Her life was going according to plan and then….
Anngela started having trouble, with her memory, then her hands. I remember doctor’s visits that were inconclusive – MRI’s that showed spots on her brain – and then I remember when she told me that she had been doing some research and she believed that she had MS. That was typical Anngela, smart and persistent. This was one time I hoped she was wrong, but unfortunately she wasn’t. It was May of 1999 when she was officially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Suddenly she needed to take intramuscular injections! The daily insulin injections were nothing compared to those!
She tried almost every MS medication on the market and had problems with all of them. For years she went with no medication at all. But damage was still in process and in 2006 she stopped walking. Every step she took she ended up falling. In Dec of 2006 she found a doctor who would put her on a medication called Tysabri. Tysabri seemed to be the first medication that worked for her but there was a risk taking the medication – there have been multiple deaths due to something called PML - a brain infection that comes without a warning and always leads to death.
In the past 4 ½ years since she has been taking the medication, Anngela’s life has change dramatically. Unable to walk properly and with short term memory issues, she no longer works. She got divorced and lives alone with her two dogs, Herbie and Brindie. With any disease comes the cycle of grief and Anngela has struggled through them on an off, but what I always admired about her is still there, her motivation, her outgoing personality and her persistence. Anngela discovered a procedure that uses stem cells that would allow her to walk again. Unfortunately stem cells are not allowed in the United States, so she would have to go to Panama for the procedure, which costs $20,000.
For the past 10 years Anngela has become more and more housebound. I would love to see Anngela out and about again. The simple things that we take for granted she can no longer do – going to the grocery store by herself, going out to eat or to the movies, or simply going for a short walk in her neighborhood. MS may have taken the use of her legs, but it hasn’t taken her drive and her outgoing, giving personality. I have no doubt that if Anngela could move around more freely she would be right back participating in group activities, supporting a cause and bringing people together to share stories, struggles and support – just like she did before MS entered her life.
Thank you for reading Anngela’s story and for your prayers, contributions and love.
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