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Cover my Brother's Life Saving Treatment
My brother, Nathan Kucera, has had quite a year! Just last August 2015, Nathan had his third major Multiple Sclerosis (MS) relapse in just a 12-month period. New lesions discovered on his brain and spinal cord were showing a more aggressive disease than originally thought. This relapse occurred while he was on medication meant to slow the progression of the disease, however it was not working. Nathan was experiencing a great deal of pain and was unable to walk independently.Earlier that year, Nathan was accepted into the Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) Treatment program run by Richard Burt MD at Northwestern University in Chicago. This treatment is an advanced procedure that, while still experimental, has shown to cure the disease 80% of the time. The treatment essentially "reboots" the immune system by growing a new one free of autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis. However, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBS) would not pay for the treatment because the procedure is not yet FDA approved. After many attempts to reverse the decision and appeals, the decision was made final. Although BCBS had paid over $200,000 in between 2014-2015 to cover Nathan’s medical bills, it was refusing this $125,000 treatment.Right away, I decided to turn to the community to face this injustice and I created this petition. In the past year, my family and I have seen and experienced more love than I could have ever imagined. My family has been overwhelmed by the support of both close loved ones and new friends. The number of people signing our petition has steadily grown, and now we have almost 100,000. If we are able to reach 100,000 signatures, we will get White House recognition, which would be a tremendous opportunity for individuals who continue to desperately need stem cell treatments. We are extremely lucky to have been able to found The Lirong Medical Foundation in order to assist Nathan Kucera in his fight with MS. The foundation is named after Ms. Lirong Song, a very close family friend who has assisted Nathan and his family through his fight with MS. With the extremely generous support of Ms. Lirong Song, Nathan completed his treatment last fall.One year later, Nathan is walking without braces or a cane, working out, riding a bike; many activities he has not been able to do in 3 years. He is back to work and back to his life in Beijing, China. His 6-month MRI showed the lesions on his brain and spine were not showing active MS. His 9-month check up showed no new lesions. Today, we continue to raise awareness by utilizing social media such as this, participating in the National MS Society’s Walk MS in Chicago, and even held a very successful fundraiser, “No MSing Around,” this past February. Additionally, we continue to work on and support bi-partisan bills that support stem cell research and procedures, hoping that everyone will have this chance to live life to the fullest. Please sign and share this petition so that Nathan can get this treatment covered properly and legitimately by his insurance company in order to pay back LMF in order to assist others in their fight with MS. Your support has been astounding and for Nathan, truly life giving. With much gratitude, Maggy and the Kucera Family