Health Check: Stem cell treatment for ALS
A Rhode Island man is waging a fight for his life.
Arthur Saran, 42 was diagnosed with ALS a year and a half ago.
"You really become a prisoner of your own body with your mind not getting affected at all," said Saran through his eye-controlled computer, which speaks for him.
His girlfriend, Chelsey Renehan, too, has become very vocal about his journey, which began in August 2015.
"He sent me the video while he was at the gym of his leg shaking," said Renehan.
Then Saran started noticing his balance was off and his speech was becoming slurred.
"When I was diagnosed with ALS, we didn't just accept it and wait to die because most neurologists say there really is nothing they can do," said Saran, via his computer.
The couple, who are raising an active 7-month-old, Arthur Jr., decided that wasn't good enough. They learned about stem cell treatments. But finding a trial to sign up for was quite the job. This Rhode Island couple went to Massachusetts and Connecticut.
"And then finally, the doctor in Connecticut had connected with another doctor who had found success with a few patients up in Canada to doing stem cells," said Renehan.
Since last October, every six weeks, Saran has gone in for stem cell treatments. He's had a total of four.
"Huge difference,” said Renehan.
"My core got stronger which helps sitting up," said Saran.
"He's able to swallow more easily," added Renehan.
"I can also flex my right arm and move my left thumb which both never moved,” noted Saran via computer. "The best improvement is now I can go to the bathroom easily."
And this couple feels with continued treatments, they will see more improvements.
But they also know the associated costs with all the treatments which add up to thousands of dollars a month. And they want to make sure others have the access to treatments, like Saran has. So they're starting a foundation.
"The focus of the Saran Stem Cell Foundation is helping people with the associated costs of the treatments and of course, connecting them to actually getting the stem cell treatments," said Renehan.
"I truly believe that I was given this disease for a reason," said Saran.
Saran believing his diagnosis, his journey is meant to help others.
They are in the process of getting this foundation off the ground. You can follow Saran's story on Facebook.