Here is an article from London Free Press about Tim Donovan and the announcement of the Canadian study:
MS study raises hope for patients
By Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press
Last Updated: June 30, 2011 4:22pm
He walks along York Street with a gait that’s uneven but steady, away from a past spent of wheelchairs and hospital beds and towards a future that’s left a sparkle in his eyes.
Tim Donovan says he was re-born last year when he traveled to Albany, New York to have a doctor widen his jugular veins to treat his multiple sclerosis.
His hopes were raised to an even higher plane Thursday in London when Canada’s health minister announced her government would invest $1 million for a clinical trial on the procedure that helped Donovan, so-called liberation therapy.
“It’s been a good Canada Day present for people with MS,” he said.
Donovan was in London as part of a cross-Canada to call for funding of liberation therapy and encouragement of other MS patients — he drew about 80 people at an event at the Covent Garden Market.
That he could make such a trip seemed unimaginable until last year.
The 60-year-old New Brunswick man was diagnosed with MS 24 years ago but his condition took a disastrous turn for the worse in his early 50’s. Not able to stand on his own, plagued by vertigo and fatigue, he spent better days in his own bed and worse days, for two or three months at a time, in a hospital bed.
It was at Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton that he learned that an Italian doctor, Paolo Zamboni, had pioneered liberation therapy with what he describes as incredible results, Donovan researched the therapy himself and decided it was his best hope — but hopelessly too expensive.
Donovan had planned to sell his home in Fredericton Junction to pay for treatment but his member of Parliament, Jack Carr, intervened and led fundraising that covered the cost of travel and the procedure.
Two hours after his veins were widened he was standing on his own for the first time in years.
Since then the change in his life has been monumental.
“I had watched my grandchildren grow up by the side of my bed. Now I can go out and play with them,” he said.
It was federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq who announced Thursday $1 million in funding for a clinical trial of liberation therapy after Dr. Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, concluded based on research to-date that a clinical trial should proceed.
But don’t expect Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews to follow suit, at least not right away — she said her government will be an observer but not participate.
“I look forward to seeing the outcomes of the trials the federal government is undertaking,” Matthews wrote in a statement provided to The Free Press.
Jonathan Sher is a Free Press reporter.
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