Monday, May 25, 2009

Paul pins hopes on stem cell therapy to save eyesight

A Brisbane resident is pinning his hopes on experimental stem cell therapy in China to save his failing sight.

Paul Smith was born with a condition that will probably lead to blindness.

He is fundraising to undergo the controversial treatmena in six-months.

Earlier this year Paul heard about Irish girl Dakota Clarke, whose sight was partially restored after a visit to the same China clinic he intends to visit.

Mr Smith suffers from hydrocephalus, commonly known as fluid on the brain. A stint drains the fluid from his skull but one of the side affects of the illness is damage to his optic nerves, which he hopes injections of stem cells will repair.

Mr Smith said a specialist told him hypothetically he was likely to lose his site by the age of 40. Faced with such a bleak prognosis, he said he is willing to try the treatment which involves cells from donated umbilical cord blood.

“I’m nervous but that’s what keeps me going,” he said.

“I need to try and do something. I’m not just going to play the victim and just let the blindness happen.”

Mr Smith said even if his sight didn’t improve it could stave of blindness. His wife Mandi will accompany him on the trip to Qingdao for the treatment by Beike Biotechnology.

He said the trip and treatment would cost $64,000 and he is registering the name Pesos for Paul’s Peepers.

To donate to Mr Smith’s appeal call 0414719486.

Source: 25 May 2009

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