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Friends raise funds for MS sufferer

Tough time: Lisa Pacheco at home with three of her children (Photograph supplied)

Friends of a mother of four bedridden by a degenerative disease have launched a fundraising appeal for her to get emergency surgery overseas.

Lisa Pacheco, who had multiple sclerosis diagnosed six years ago after a stroke, must head to the Lahey Clinic in Boston on March 26 for treatment after the disease began to attack her internal organs.

The temporary charity set up on her behalf, Help for Lisa, was created by friends to help Ms Pacheco with the $30,000 she needs to pay for her medical care in the US.

Ms Pacheco, 37, said: “It’s definitely not easy — most days I am bed bound. I’m in a lot of pain in my stomach right now.”

MS, which is incurable, damages the nervous system and has worsened her other illnesses, which include fibromyalgia and diabetes.

Financial assistance covers many of her expenses but Ms Pacheco will have a large bill to repay the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association medical charity, which has also assisted her.

She has three sons, aged 16, 14 and 11, and a two-year-old daughter, and the high cost of living has worsened her problems.

Ms Pacheco added: “Between the cost of the hospital and health insurance, something has to give.

“People can’t live like this, choosing between medication and a roof over your head.”

Ms Pacheco has a day of surgery scheduled for March 29, but the outcome was uncertain.

Financial assistance will pay for her travel costs, as well as her accommodation once she leaves hospital.

However, taking someone to accompany her and the other expenses — especially if she suffers medical complications — will have to be covered by Ms Pacheco.

She said her fiancé had given up work to devote himself to her care and has to remain in Bermuda to care for the children while she is overseas.

Ms Pacheco said: “There’s so many things to think of. Medication is expensive. The place we’re in now is small and it’s hard to move around.

“I’m hoping that while I’m away my fiancé can find a place that’s more accommodating for me. And I will never be able to work.” The godmother to her two eldest children, who obtained a fundraising licence to help her friend, said: “She’s stressed and sad. Who wouldn’t be?

“She thinks about her children and what will happen if things go wrong for her.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, added: “She wants to get her health back but right now she just wants to be there for her children, to know they will be OK.”

The friend added the surgery at the Lahey Clinic could be “life threatening”.

She said: “There is help for a lot of things, but it’s still difficult. They don’t give you as much as you might expect for a place so rich.”

The friend added: “She can’t bathe herself. Her legs don’t work and she is only mobile with her upper body.

“She is not paralysed, but her nerves and organs are shutting down. The multiple sclerosis is causing a lot of other problems.”

The Help for Lisa savings account at Clarien Bank has been licensed to raise funds until June 4. The account number is 6000 11 8752.