Fundraisers Benefit "Mo's" Battle With MS
A special fundraising effort is currently underway to assist a Piggott woman in her battle with multiple sclerosis (MS), as she seeks to fund a promising new treatment. Merita (Graddy) Hanna, 58, is a local native who has battled the chronic degenerative disease since 1992. Currently, assistance is being sought to help with the effort, and the battle has been dubbed, "Mo's Revenge on MS."
"I grew up in Piggott and graduated PHS in 1975, then moved to Dallas," Hanna explains.
While living in Texas, and working for the Department of Transportation, she was diagnosed with MS. The disease affects the central nervous system, and destroys the tissue which surrounds and insulates nerve fibers throughout the body.
Now retired and confined to a power chair, Hanna continues to battle MS as traditional treatments have failed to halt the progress. But, recent advances in stem cell research have given her new hope, as a new treatment has shown great promise in clinical trials.
"It's known as Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, or HSCT," she explains. "The treatment would take place at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago as part of a clinical trial. If I can't qualify for the study I plan to seek the treatments out of the country."
According to Hanna, MS patients are reporting promising results and major improvements from the HSCT treatments, although the related costs are overwhelming. She also noted insurance does not cover procedures not approved in the United States, and she would have to bear the burden of travel, lodging expenses and caregivers, as well.
To help with the financial burden, a fundraising campaign has been started in her honor with HelpHOPELive, a non-profit organization. Those making donations through the organization are reminded to note they are in honor of Merita Hanna.
Locally, there are two fundraising raffles currently underway, with the proceeds benefiting Hanna and her fight with MS. On the local front, leading "Team Mo" in support of Hanna are Team Captain Marty Renard and Autumn Turner. They're coordinating the raffles, one for a Henry .22 rifle and the other for a pair of diamond earrings.
The earrings are a pair of 10 KT diamond baguettes and have been estimated in value at nearly $3,500. A total of 400 tickets will be sold at $10 each, and the drawing will be held when the final ticket is sold. The rifle, provided by the Gun Exchange in Piggott, is a Henry Evil Roy Lever Action .22, and is valued at $450. Tickets are $10 each, and only 300 will be sold, with the drawing held after the tickets have sold-out. Drawings organizers also noted the winner of the rifle must pass a background check, or forfeit the prize.
Tickets are available from team members, at Donna's Country Kitchen and at the Gun Exchange.
Additional information on the drawings may be obtained by calling 870 324-2151, and those wanting to follow Merita's journey may visit www.mosreventeonms.com
Those wanting more details about HelpHOPELive may visit them online at www.helpholelive.org or call 1-800-642-8399.