Late last year, Over-2-Tom’s sponsored a fundraiser for Tonya Godwin, resident of Seven Lakes North. With the support of the community, funds were raised for Tonya to have two stem cell treatments as part of a clinical trial for MS patients.
Tonya’s first treatment took place on November 3rd of 2016.
“The treatment was a positive experience,” she said. “Everyone was super nice!”
The process included removing fat cells from the body through liposuction. The fat was then processed to remove the stem cells. These stem cells were reintroduced into her system through spinal taps, an IV line, and intranasal injections which helped cross the blood-brain barrier.
Because it is a clinical trial, the stem cells must be removed and reinserted within the same day, making treatment a full-day process. Once the FDA approves of the treatment, stem cells can be frozen and stored for later use. This means patients, like Tonya, will only have to have fat cells removed once instead of during every treatment process.
“The most painful part is the bruising from the liposuction,” Tonya said.
Tonya also does interviews monthly for the trial. It is estimated to take about eighteen months for full effects of the stem cell treatment. Data from her treatment is recorded for the trial.
During the first several months after treatment, Tonya gained strength and was able to sleep better.
“Immediately I had a lot more energy,” she said. “I’m stronger. I transfer better.”
After treatment, it is normal for patients to feel immediate improvement. However, after the first few months, it has been known for these effects to decrease.
“It plateaued out. . .,” she said. “The stem cells have to grab and build.”
Tonya has scheduled an appointment for a second treatment on June 7th. She and her husband, Rodney, will travel to the clinic in San Diego to go through the process again, giving her body a second boost of stem cells.
“We’ll wait and see what happens,” she said. “It’s mind boggling. Thank you for continued support and prayers.”