Until I met Nadia almost a year ago, I'd never had anything to do with anyone diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. To say I was shocked, sickened and saddened by her unpredictable, severe and ever changing painful symptoms would be an understatement. Each time we spoke, something else would have changed... loss of vision, paralysis, intense pain... effectively a daily lottery of varied and debilitating symptoms.
The National MS Society outlines far more succinctly how the disease operates than I can:
MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS consists of the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. Surrounding and protecting the nerve fibers of the CNS is a fatty tissue called myelin, which helps nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses.
In MS, myelin is lost in multiple areas, leaving scar tissue called sclerosis. These damaged areas are also known as plaques or lesions. Sometimes the nerve fiber itself is damaged or broken.
Myelin not only protects nerve fibers, but makes their job possible. When myelin or the nerve fiber is destroyed or damaged, the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted, and this produces the various symptoms of MS.
Unfortunately, Nadia has been struck with a triple blow concerning her diagnosis. Firstly she was left undiagnosed earlier in the year when her symptoms weren't recognised - her disease thereby progressing unchecked for quite some time. Secondly, many of the standard treatments prescribed for sufferers have resulted in severe side effects, exacerbating many of her symptoms. Due to these factors and the rate at which her illness appears to be progressing, Nadia is consulting with physicians with regard to embarking on a course of chemotherapy - a stressful and painful process in itself, designed to suppress her highly over-stimulated immune system.
There is, fortunately, a shining light for Nadia amidst all that darkness . `thespook is travelling to the US later this week to be with Nadia, and to support her in this difficult time.
The costs associated with Nadia's medical needs are extremely high and therefore we'd like to invite you to help minimise the costs, as well as enhancing your own creativity! We're hoping to have as much funds raised as possible before he goes so he can take these to Nadia, and help keep her spirits high.
So, down to business...
I've posted a deviation entitled The Grungeonomicon which comprises a selection of 150 high quality and high res resource textures to purchase on DVD...
... please go take a look if you're interested in purchasing it. It's only $14.95, a small price to pay in order to raise a smile. Additionally, Sandi aka `oibyrd is offering a One Month Subscription and a print up to 9"x12" from her store to everyone who purchases the DVD!
All purchasing information is contained within the deviation description. One thing I should mention for those of you who are slightly sceptical is that ALL the money raised is going straight to Nadia and Nick - I'm personally covering postage and production costs.
Can't afford one?
If you can't purchase it, don't worry! No one is giving you a hard sell rap... all I ask is that you consider pimping either this news article or the deviation in your journal to promote it so that others might be made aware...
Currently 12 copies of the DVD have been sold and I've recieved well over 200 messages, notes and emails promising support, promotion and purchases - the dA community really is a wonderful and caring corner of the internet.
Nadia's a great kid and, despite her illness she's remained a source of inspiration for me... admittedly I think I'd have buckled considering what she's been through and has yet to face. Despite it all she's still here, doing her part for the Resources Gallery and being a friend to not only me but many others who know and love her. If you can do anything at all, at very least stop by and say hi...
Finally I'd like to thank ALL you guys who've helped with this through journal mentions and notes. Big thanks go to +spyed and $Moonbeam13 who sanctioned this deviation.
Further Reading and Support
There are a huge number of informational, charity and medical websites on the net concerning Multiple Sclerosis...
The National MS Society
UK Multiple Sclerosis Society
The MS Trust
The Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre
There are many more... Google away...