Myrtle Beach woman diagnosed with MS accepted into special stem - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Myrtle Beach woman diagnosed with MS accepted into special stem cell treatment program

A Myrtle Beach woman is hoping a stem cell program will help her get relief from MS. (Source: WMBF News) A Myrtle Beach woman is hoping a stem cell program will help her get relief from MS. (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A Myrtle Beach woman who has been battling multiple sclerosis since she was 18 now has hope that her quality of life will improve. 

Melissa Ogle, 30, said this is not the life she wanted, especially as she has to live in constant pain and deal with declining health

In an effort to improve her situation, Ogle recently applied to be part of a stem cell therapy clinical trial at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Ill. 

She said in May she received an email from the program saying she had been accepted.  

"They say, 'Allow two to three months acceptance,'" Ogle said. "I had a response in less than 24 hours." 

The Conway High School graduate said living with MS has not been easy.

"I've pretty much had a relapse twice a year, and that's no matter what medications for MS I've been on," Ogle said. 

Her diagnosis came during her freshman year at Coastal Carolina University. Ogle said doctors told her they didn't see her finishing college because of her condition. 

She eventually proved them wrong, earning a degree bachelor's degree in psychology in 2008.

"That is one of my greatest accomplishments," Ogle said. 

Still, depression eventually set in. That led to her attending MS support groups, which is where she first heard about Northwestern Memorial's stem cell therapy study.

Despite the number of applicants, Ogle decided to apply. 

"I have it, and I have to live with it, and I don' t have a choice. So, am I going to sit and cry about it all the time, or am I going to choose to look at this positive?" Ogle said she told herself. "I am going to apply. If it's meant to be it will be, and so that's what I did."

As early as July, Ogle will travel to Chicago to begin her treatment. Under the program, she will undergo Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant or HSCT.

According to Ogle, doctors will take stems cell from her body.

She will then undergo chemotherapy to clean up her immune system before reintroducing her stem cells. 

Ogle said she is currently considered disabled. and does not work. However, once she is done with the treatment, she wants to put her degree to use. 

"It's worth the risk for me, and to see that I might be able to work again one day," Ogle said. 

Ogle and her family are raising money for the treatment. She said they plan to set up donation jars at businesses in downtown Conway. 

A Go Fund Me page has also been established to help with medical costs. Additionally, donations can be made at any South State Bank.

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