Young dad, Marios Christou, desperate to travel to Russia for MS treatment

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The life of Ocean Grove dad, Marios Christou, changed forever when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2015, about a year after he first experienced numbness and tingling down his left side.

Marios and his wife, Georget, had moved to the Bellarine Peninsula from Cyprus in 2013, eager to create a wonderful life after discovering their first child was on the way.

The 34-year-old, who is dad to 7-year-old Marissa and 6-year-old Angelo, told The Geelong Advertiser the diagnosis was a shock and life-changing.

“In the beginning I was so sad and angry,” he said to the newspaper.

MS is an auto-immune disease of the central nervous system, which interferes with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

Marios Christou. Photo: The Geelong Advertiser.

There is no known cure for the disease, but there are treatment options available to help manage symptoms including one called autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT).

This costly treatment involves harvesting stem cells from patients, giving them doses of chemotherapy, then replacing the stem cells in the patient’s body. The aim is to ‘reset’ the immune system to stop it attacking the body.

The only problem is that AHSCT is only available in Australia through three observational clinical trials at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital and in Melbourne at Austin Health and The Alfred Hospital.

As a result Marios, who owns Mavros Fish and Chips with Georget, plans to travel to Russia next year to undergo the treatment. He has already connected with a doctor in Moscow.

Marios told The Geelong Advertiser he was “very nervous but excited” about the prospect of travelling to Russia.

People can donate at a GoFundMe page titled ‘Please Help Mario Christou Beat MS,’ which has already raised more than $16,000.

Source: The Geelong Advertiser.

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